This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

With a flipping of the calendar today and a holiday weekend just ahead, it might be useful to take stock of events happening in August.

Of course the August holiday weekend means it’s time for the Rotary/Lions Funfest at Couchiching Beach Park. Friday night the Orillia Youth Centre has an open mic at the Aqua Theatre, Saturday Even Steven plays in the beer tent and Sunday it’s Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys.

Tuesday Aug. 6 the guys in Rellikdog are opening for Buckcherry at the Phoenix in Toronto. Rellikdog is the second band from Orillia to open for Buckcherry, Bleeker toured with them a couple years ago. Get tickets here.

Next week the chamber of commerce has its Waterfront Festival. There will be over 100 vendors, the Dock Diving Dogs show is back at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the Cardboard Boat Race (to the bottom) happens Sunday Aug. 10 at noon. Register your dog, or cardboard boat here.

The Coldwater Steampunk Festival happens Aug. 9 and 10. It actually starts on the 8th with a car show inn the evening. Friday afternoon the Red Hat Ladies host a Victorian Tea near the mill. Starting at 4 p.m. Harry Potter fans will want to take part in Transfigured Friday, it happens through to 9.

Saturday, holy cow, I’m looking at the lineup of events and this thing is getting out of hand. I remember when I used to be able to give you times for everything. In print there wouldn’t be enough room, on the net, well, there isn’t enough time to run down everything – or for you to read it.

It’s a lot easier to just go to their website and try and figure out what’s on at what time and how you’re going to work out the logistics of being in the place you want to be. Plan to be there all day Saturday, and plan to park anywhere between Warminster and Fesserton. That’s a bit of exaggeration, but you get the point. If you end up at the Canadiana Museum for parking, there’s shuttle bus into town.

The Opera House has a different kind of Norm Foster play running right now. The Gentleman Clothier is still funny, but it’s a more thoughtful play than we are used to from Foster. There weren’t too many tickets left for any of the remaining shows as of end of last week.

You might want to get your tickets for the next one, Bernard Slade’s Same Time Next Year. It starts Aug. 14 and runs to Aug. 30. Also at the Opera House Duck Soup Productions is doing Annie every Tuesday evening and there’s a Beach Boys tribute band in Aug. 28. Heads up, Murray McLauchlan plays Sept. 18.

Driftwood Theatre is bringing their production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (in musical form) to the Leacock Museum Aug. 13. The performance is pay what you can, but they suggest $20 to $30 per person. You can get tickets here.

Saturday Aug. 17 is the annual Classic Car Show downtown. It starts at 7 a.m., ends at 5 p.m.. They are expecting at least 400 cars once again. There will be music and of course, cars to see. New this year for people entering their cars into the show, there’s draw for someone to win a long block engine rebuild from Parry Automotive. It’s hard to believe but this is the 21st show. Registration is here.

Saturday Aug. 24 is Starry Night in the Arts District. There are 27 venues this year. I’m getting old, this is the 15th time for it. Check out which venues to visit here. Some of them are restaurants, so think ahead, make reservations. You’re going to need the whole evening to visit every gallery, don’t do it on an empty stomach.

Aug. 24 and 25 is also the Chippewas of Rama annual Pow Wow. They are now calling it the loudest and proudest pow wow in Ontario. It certainly qualifies for lucrative. Top prize for singers is $10,000. If only I could sing. Grand Entry Saturday is at noon and 6:30 p.m. Sunday it’s at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per day, or $15 for the weekend at the door to the John Snake Memorial Community Gardens (if the park had a door). Seniors 60 and over, veterans, the disabled and kids 12 and under get in free.

Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 the 2nd annual Port of Orillia Pirate Party happens. Däv & Crash Monkey Mob and Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys will be playing. I missed this last year, but a new tradition started, the Rotary Walk the Plank event happens on the Saturday at 3 p.m. Top prize is whatever boat they can scrape off the bottom from the Cardboard Boat Race. Actually, there is no prize, but you can take the plunge and raise money for the restoration of the Aqua Theatre. Pledge forms are here.

Strings For Students

A full house at the Geneva last Saturday night helped push the fundraising to buy guitars for the Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary music program over the top. Jimmy Johnston organized the event and he said they got the $4,000 needed to buy the guitars.  Danny Webster lead the music and he just keeps getting better. This time he had a band, which was the first time I’ve heard him with one, and everyone was into the original music he was playing.

Bleeker’s Taylor Perkins and Mike Vandyk

No one in Bleeker mentioned to me they were going to play part of their set unplugged, so that was a surprise. Small Town Dead was quite different on that count. Half way through they went electric and the audience went from 10 to 11 on the excitement scale. They were singing Highway and John behind the bar asked me if that was their tune. I told him yes, and he said he hears it everywhere and really liked it and the idea the band that recorded it was playing right in front of him.

The Doug Trucker Band closed the night. Mike Vandyk just camped on stage, having just done a set with Bleeker, and Timmy Kehoe, an original band member who was not with them when I saw them in March, along with Jimmy resurrected their tunes recorded more than a decade ago, but making them just different enough to be fresh. Congrats to everyone involved, including sponsors Gilbert Guitars and the Geneva for making it a success.

The Geneva has a couple things happening soon. August 10 a Night of Burlesque is back. If you haven’t been, it’s fun, but beware the MC will probably find you and have some fun in a rude kind of way. Think Don Rickles in drag and Carlin’s 7 Words don’t apply. This is the 4th time the show has been here and it sold out each time.

Hells Bells are in for a show Friday Aug. 16, which is the Classic Car Show weekend. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Get tickets to Geneva shows here.

Arty Stuff

The Orillia Museum of Art and History has their own version of the Antiques Road Show happening during the month of August. Julie Riches of Riches Appraisals and Consult, a member of the International Society of Appraisers specializes in silver, art glass, porcelain, ceramics, bronzes, sculptures, furniture, coins, military items, and fine art.

She’ll have a look at your stuff from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the 10th, 17th, and 24th. Military historian/collector Carl Black, and Marcel Rousseau will be part of the day on the 17th. You must register in advance.

This is your last chance to see Ronald Regamey’s paper art at Lee Contemporary. Next week Patti Agapi has a show starting and the opening reception is Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. Peter Street Fine Art has the work of Myra and Lori Korkola and Karen Hudgin featured.

The Shorts

Craig Mainprize (Submitted)

*  The Leacock Museum is undertaking a survey as part of its master planning process. You can do it and be eligible for a draw for dinner for two at the museum. And they started an artist in residence program. The first artist is Craig Mainprize. He’s already been out there working at the boathouse and will have a couple workshops, Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. (with Tanya Cunnington and Bewabon Shilling leading; $35, register at and he’ll stickhandle two others Thursday and Friday afternoons (landscape and still life painting – $25 each, register at

*  Craig Cardiff is returning for what is becoming an annual boat cruise on the Island Princess featuring his music. It’s September 1 and the boat loads at 5:30 p.m., it will not be leaving at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35. If you wait, it will be $45 at the dock, but that’s not really a plan is it? Kids under 112 are free with an adult.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has jazz guitarist Paul Brooks and Mike Milner in Friday; Alexandria Taylor is in Saturday night… the Brownstone has Hubbards Hustlers playing Wednesday July 31; Sleep Until It Hurts is in Saturday night… Chris Lemay plays at Lake Country Grill Aug. 7… the Sunday evening band concert at the Aqua Theatre is with the Muskoka Concert Band at 6:30 p.m. … the concert series at the Bandstand in Couchiching Beach Park July 24 has Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys playing August 7… the next Movies in the Park at the Aqua Theatre has the 1976 version of A Star is Born August 7 when the sun goes down… the chamber’s summer concert series at the Port of Orillia continues Aug. 24 with High Court County from 5 to 9 p.m.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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