This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Arnprior resident Craig Cardiff has been taking a cruise on the Island Princess for 6 years and Sunday night he’s doing it again. It seems like a long way to go for a boat ride, but he sings a few tunes during the cruise. With 18 albums recorded he has many to choose from. Derick Lehmann is the connection.

“It started back in college when I was in North Bay. He was a performer at our student bar, so we created a friendship there. When I moved back down to the Orillia area we started this cruise and concert.” Said
Lehmann .

“We have as many sold (as of Monday) as we did last year at the event,” said Cardiff. “It’s become one of those things where people ask about it,”

The 7th annual cruise and concert was moved backward a week to the holiday.

“When he initially floated the idea, I’m like I have no idea if this is going to work. It’s always been great. We’re actually almost sold out,” said Cardiff.

“I think that’s because we changed. Instead of being the week before the long weekend, we changed it to the Labour Day weekend. Now the out of town people who are coming to enjoy the cruise don’t have to rush back and get on the highway at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night because Monday is a holiday,” Lehmann said.

Cardiff has put out an album almost every year since 1997 and he’s embraced digital distribution as the primary means of getting his music. It’s also change how he releases new music.

“I write that much. Everything has changed with Spotify in terms of not having to take it to an album cycle, good or bad, I think the ability work on 4 songs (then put them out), and then work on a another 5 or 6 songs,” and then package them up into a traditional album length compliment makes the music more immediate.

That doesn’t mean fans can’t buy some music at his gigs.

“Everything is available on CD. I will never not sell somebody something at a show. That’s where most of us make money,” he said.

During our conversation I recalled the misfortune I wrote about two weeks ago when someone jumped off the cruise boat Wayne Buttery was playing a gig on and everything had to stop until the person was pulled from the water by the coast guard, so I asked if anything like that happened on Cardiff’s cruises.

“No. There was one time somebody lost a wallet, but it was really close to shore. They just said they’d look for it when we came back. That was the raciest thing we ever dealt with,” Cardiff said.

There are only 20 of the 150 tickets left at $35 each. Kids under 12 are free with an adult. The Island Princess boards at 5:30 p.m. September 1 and leaves at 6.

“Don’t be late, Tom likes to be on time right at 6,” said Lehmann .

This Just In

Lehmann has lined up a second gig for Cardiff at the Hog N’ Penny for Sunday starting at 8:30 p.m. – just in case the cruise sells out. You’ll be able to get tickets online at by the end of the day Wednesday (sorry that’s not linked because the page isn’t set up yet), or at the door and they’ll be $20.


Have you downloaded you pledge sheet and got your act (costume) together for Saturday’s Walk Off the Plank event at the Port of Orillia? It’s part of the 2nd annual Port of Orillia Pirate Party happening August 31 and September 1. The Orillia District Chamber of Commerce added it to the list of events they hold each year at the waterfront.

It’s not exactly how you walk the plank, but it will do (Submitted)

Walking the plank is at 2 p.m. Saturday and money raised will go toward the Rotary Aqua Theatre restoration project

There will be plenty of music by Unbranded (Sat. 11 a.m.) Dav and Crash Monkey Mob (Sat. 6 p.m.), Charlotte and the Dirty Cowboys (Sun. 3 p.m.)  and the Mudmen (Sun. 7 p.m.)  The Mudmen have been playing the Opera House every January for quite a few years and if you haven’t seen them, you’re missing a good show.

There‘s a treasure hunt, with prizes, happening, You have two days to collect all your stamps on a map. There will also be fencing, wheelchair basketball and other demonstrations both days. And, like Christmas in June, boats will be decorated.

Rotary Club will get a jump on the weekend waterfront park activities with a showing of the movie Goonies Friday at the Aqua Theatre whenever the big light in the sky goes out.

Starry Night Recap

Many of you watched the video from Saturday Night’s Starry Night studio and gallery tour. You may have been wondering how it is I didn’t have any shots from Brewery Bay, Mariposa Market, Apple Annie’s GL Thompson Photography and 123 Breakfast. Oversight. I’ve got nothing better.

I came away Saturday night congratulating myself for getting something from every venue, but as I was patching the video together it occurred to me that those places were missing. So apologies to those businesses.

When I arrived downtown I had a moment of shock. My ride is usually parked in the lot across from Brewery Bay every year and as I neared Mississaga Street I looked left down the hill first. People, lots of people. Usually there’s a few knots of people here and there, but this year they were everywhere. Looking right was crazier. I have never seen so many people at this event.

I got video of many of the lower Mississaga  venues (except of course the ones I forgot). Before getting to the Arts District. That took about an hour.

When I got in a position to survey Peter Street it seemed like I could see as many people milling about as there normally be over the entirety of the Starry Night geography. I turned around to look back at Mississaga and it was still loaded.

So the bottom line is, attendance was the best ever by a long shot. The exposure the artists receive is great. Many sell some work that night, like Sylvia Tesori who told me she had sold 8 pieces in the first hour and a half. Studio Eleven reported much higher sales than last year. In the past many artists have said it’s like a preview night, people see something they like and come back in a few days or weeks and buy. I suspect many artists did very well this year and will do well in the coming weeks.

But the real accomplishment is the spirit of the evening the artists have created. Starry Night has become the end of summer check-in for a lot of people. We see folks we haven’t seen for months or weeks, chit chat, have laugh, and then move on a few yards and do it all over again. Over 15 years people have come to associate the event as an important part of their summer experience.

Congrats to those who came up with the idea, they are still part of the event even though the Zephyr Gallery where the idea originated no longer exists as a permanent gallery in the Arts District, and to all the returning venues and new ones who joined this year.

Streets Alive’s 2019 public art project, Pedal Powered, is still going to be around until the nice weather runs out, but the winners were announced Saturday night at Starry Night.

Phill Holder’s Uptown Express was third ($2,500) prize, Rebecca Allen’s Icarus Ride was second ($5,000) and Frank Ripley’s Put Your Back Into It was first ($7,500). Those were the ones on the street. There were others made to be displayed in store windows. Aime and Rick Brownbill, with Ally Harris and Kate Hillard have their bike at Perfect Timing; Meg Leslie’s is at Bakes By The Lake and both entries won $500.

Frank Ripley’s Put Your Back Into It - first ($7,500).

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Next year’s theme will be a tribute to the Mariposa Folk Festival on its 60th anniversary. It’s called Road Trip to Mariposa, and back then you did road trips in a VW (maybe a Westphalia) bus, so that’s what the sculptures will be.

It will also be the last year for the project. When its done there will be ten years worth of sculptures in town. Even yesterday I saw one from the past in a place I didn’t expect it, wish I could remember where that was. It’s a great legacy to have so many art pieces scattered about town and I hope the people who own the old guitars, sailboats, story poles and etc. keep them in good repair and on view for a long time to come.

The Shorts

* Third Age Network and Lakehead University are partnering for an event August 28 with Dr. Timothy Sayle who will review the history of NATO and the challenges it has today with Keeping the Peace? NATO and Our Global (Dis)Order. It’s at St. Paul’s Centre at 7 p.m. and tickets are $35. Register here.

*  OMAH’s annual croquet tournament is Sept. 7 at Couchiching Beach Park. Its $50 per person to enter and there’s food prizes and a chance to see the mayor whack a ball around (if he plays this year). It takes place from 1 to 4 p.m.

Hibernation Arts has a busy September. September 7 there’s a show opening of Mary Jo Pollack’s work at 1 p.m. September 14 a group show, Equinox, opens at 1 p.m. Sept. 19 Dave Armishaw and Josh Poitras kick off the fall version of the Wordsmith reading series with some poetry at 7 p.m. ($10 admission). And new is a house concert series starting September 26 at 7 p.m. with Sean Patrick and Darrin Davis ($20).

*  St. James’ Anglican Church, Creative Nomad Studios and the Downtown Management Board are teaming up for the Orillia Christmas Market in late November.  It’s juried so you have to apply by September 13 to be part of it. The Orillia Silver Band and the Little Big Band will be part of it too.

*  The Youth Centre and Roots North are partnering on a concert at Fern Resort September 28.  Headlining is Danny Michel. Last April Danny sang at Jane Goodall’s 85th birthday party. If you’ve seen him you know the $35 ticket price is worth it. Billy Pettinger and Meredith Moon are performing too.You can get tickets online, or at Dapper Depot, or Alleycats Music. All of the proceeds go to the Youth Centre.

*  The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture has a First Nations Literary Festival happening September 19 to 21 in Midland. They are also having an art exhibit at (and with) OMAH September 28 with John Ross and Amy Swartz. November 1 they have a concert at St. Paul’s Centre with Jane Bunnett and Maqueque followed by another November 2 with Kune. For tickets And more info visit their website.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has Darrin Davis in Friday; the Hillbirds play Saturday night… the Brownstone has Myc Sharrat Wednesday night; Aluminum Garden plays Thursday; Hutch with Carden Cove opening are in Saturday; … Liz Anderson plays Tailwinds at the Lake St. John airport this Saturday… the ANAF club has Skillset playing Saturday at 8 p.m.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Cardiff & Pirate Party Submitted)

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