This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

There have been quite a few memorable Mariposa Folk Festivals. As I think of it, several scenes flash through the old player in my head from the first one back in Orillia in 2000 to this past weekend.

Maybe because it’s fresh in my mind, but I think this last one from start to finish had more moments which stand out than any of the others.

I love good musicianship regardless of the genre. When I see someone like Julian Taylor leading his band through a scorching tune, watch him transport himself into the music, mentally leaving the stage and living among the notes he’s playing and the notes the rest of the band is producing, it impresses me.

Many of the acts are well polished. They’ve done the songs and worked the stage the same way many times. Some of them have tricks they use to make it seem to the audience what they are doing on stage is completely spontaneous, those are very good performers.

There are others who, while having done the same routine several times, still fall in love with their own music night after night, or least on a Mariposa stage. In that moment the lyrics, or the sequence of notes they play are like a new thing.

As soon as you get more than two players on a song the mental dynamic comes into play. Most bands have four people, some more. Imagine how differently a song can be performed by each person, and how magical it can be when they operate with the same mindset. Having experienced this several times I can tell you it’s better than anything else in the world. Maybe that’s why I get so much joy from recognizing when it’s happening to other musicians, because I can empathize with what they must be feeling as its happening.

This past Mariposa had so many instances of what I’m trying to describe. I think the audience feels it. Certainly musicians on stage can detect when an audience is unifying with the music being produced. There’s almost an electrical charge in the air. Being frequently sandwiched between the stage and the audience allows me to sense that transfer of energy from stage to audience and back again. It’s like an infinite feedback loop that gets stronger the longer it exists.

This is why live music appeals to many people. Whether they understand what is happening or not, they are looking for the high that happens. Mariposa brings together so many talented people capable of sparking what maybe can be called euphoria in a proportion greater than other kinds of music festivals or music events. I think Mariposa has excelled bringing a disproportional number of great musicians, artists, to town for three days than many other festivals or music events.

It’s not just the musicians. You, who also went to Mariposa, make it great too. So many of you get excited about what you have experienced. It’s a transferable feeling. Case in point is every single person who spoke with me about Carole Pope’s performances did so in the same way. You were surprised and impressed. You made me feel left out because I didn’t get to share the moment, but I’m still glad many of you did.

Every experience I had this year was great, from old friends, new friends, those I see every week, those I only see at Mariposa, the musicians, the volunteers I interacted with from the parking lot to the recycling bins there was not one moment of disappointment.

And, I got a great photo of Tom Cochrane out of it too.

Free Stuff for People Who Like To Laugh

SUNonline/Orillia is partnering with the Geneva Event Centre to give away 5 sets of tickets to see the next installment of Yuk Yuks July 20 with comics Rob Ross, Darryl Orr and Jeff Paul.

Here’s what you need to do. Visit The Geneva’s event page and scroll down to the Yuk Yuks bit, hit print screen (it’s on your keyboard, usually near the F12 button), then open an email – subject Geneva –  type your contact info then paste (control + v usually works) and send it to Then scroll up or down on this page and click on the Facebook icon and share this column to your face book page.

You have until 4 p.m. July 16 to do so. Don Porter will make the draw from entries submitted.

Eric Gales, yes, he plays left-handed.

This Saturday the Eric Gales Band is in to play. You can get tickets at the same event page link above. If you don’t know who Eric is, or why you should see him watch this. You can search him on Youtube and find some other very interesting videos. If you are a guitarist, I think you should plan to see this show. If you like Blues or Funk, I think you should see this show. If you aren’t a fan of Blues of Funk but like good musicianship as I described at the beginning of the column, you should go.

What’s Up Doc?

There is a nice story about Bill Dunlop’s latest project on the Broadcast Dialogue website. Bill’s has worked on several documentaries and his new project is about former CFNY DJ Martin Streek.

Bill Dunlop

He released a teaser last week on his Facebook page which Alan Cross shared, and it went crazy on social media and Broadcast Dialogue magazine picked up the story.

He’s been working with Alan Cross for 5 years on prepping for the doc. He’s using archive footage combined with interviews. There’s still a lot work to do and Bill thinks it will be a year before its complete. Here’s a teaser for the doc.

Arty Stuff

Gary Blundell immigrated to Canada from England as a child. It seemed to him everywhere he went, including Orillia, there was a statue of Champlain.

Victoria Ward spent her summers in the Orillia area at the family’s Lake Simcoe cottage. On July 20, 1969, her father rigged a television set on the beach so everyone could watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon. Looking up from the TV, they could see the moon.

Those two things combine in OMAH’s latest exhibit, Project Voyager. They gathered their related keepsakes and travelled the route Champlain took into the interior; the result is the exhibit which opens Saturday at 21 p.m. the artists will also have a talk about their experience July 25 at 12:30 p.m. (tickets are $10), and will have a plein air workshop July 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is $95 and you can find details here.

OMAH Exhibit When Raven Became Spider

Also up at OMAH is When Raven Became Spider and Steph Whalen’s Reverie. Another exhibit of Melody Madden’s work will be up July 20.

Lee Contemporary has a new show, Fascination Paper, by Ronald Regamey opening Saturday at 1 p.m. Hibernation Arts has new art by Lisa Rowlandson. Peter Street Fine Art has the work of Myra and Lori Korkola and Karen Hudgin featured. The Orillia Fine Arts Association is having a garage sale July 20 at 13 Cowan Street from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a fundraiser for the Mary Rose Bursary.

The Shorts

*  The Leacock Museum has a boat festival happening July 12 to 14. It’s all about vintage boats, and other things that float, particularly ones made in Orillia or nearby. There are a number of other activities and the show is in partnership with the Orillia Heritage Centre.

*  You only have until July 19 to see one of the funniest plays, Where You Are, the Opera House has had in any of their summer lineups. See my review here. Get tickets here. The next play, The Gentleman Clothier, starts July 24. Also at the Opera House, Duck Soup Productions has Annie every Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Women Fully Clothed are back with Invisible July 20.

*  If you missed seeing the documentary Underground Orillia, Rogers TV is showing it. You can find the schedule here.

*  Jimmy Johnson has a new project called Strings for Students to raise money to donate 15 Fender acoustic guitars to Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary for the music program. There’s a concert July 27 at the Geneva, with Jimmy’s Doug Trucker Band, Bleeker and Danny Webster. Tickets are $10 in advance at Gilbert Guitars or Alleycats, $15 at the door. Greenhat Studios, the Geneva and Gilbert Guitars are sponsors.

*  The Mariposa Arts Theater has release the lineup for their next theater season staring in the fall. They are doing Unrinetown, The Art of Dining (by Tina Howe), Rabbit Hole (by David Lindsay-Abaire) and The Gin Game (By Donald L. Colburn). I’ll let you know when tickets go on sale.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has Jazz Trio playing Friday night… the Brownstone has Teagan McLaren in Thursday evening; the Honky Tonk Zeros are in Friday; Lion House with Huttch and David Dino White play Saturday; the Fast Romantics are in Wednesday July 17… Lake Country Grill has Jitensha in July 17; Even Steven is playing July 20… the Sunday evening band concert at the Aqua Theatre is with the Orillia Silver Band at 6:30 p.m. … the chamber of commerce’s next Summer Concert Series at the Port of Orillia is July 27 with Dav and the Crash Monkey Mob 6 p.m. … The City has a concert series happening at the Bandstand; July 10 Sol City Jazz plays at 6:30 p.m. … The summer Movies in the Park at the Aqua Theatre starts July 10 with my favourite Mel Brooks movie, Spaceballs showtime is whenever the sun goes down.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Supplied) Main – Tom Cochrane  at the 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival.

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