This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

UPDATED: Hibernation Arts scheduled performer has changed.

There’s always a lot going on in Orillia most weekends. This weekend at least things are concentrated in one area and despite simultaneously occurring, you can stroll around downtown and still feel you saw it all.

I’m referring to the first annual Orillia Christmas Market.  Ground zero is St. James’ Anglican Church where 24 vendors will be displaying their artistic creations, musicians will be performing, and people who cook things will be saying – what! you don’t like my cooking? but you’re so skinny, come, eat something.

“It’s a real small version of, picture the One Of a Kind show in Toronto done Orillia style,” said Anitta Hamming of Creative Nomad Studios and one the event jockeys. She should know, she was part of the marketing team for the Toronto show.

You can find out who all the vendors are and what they make on the event website. I had in mind I’d do a short run through of them because it’s not evident many are from the Orillia area, but quickly realized it was going to turn into a book.

“Most of them are fairly local, but they’re as far away as Gravenhurst, Peterborough, they’re all within that under 100 km,” radius said Anitta.

Last week I wroteabout the musicians performing. What I didn’t have was the list of young people who will perform Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. They are Taya Koski, Justin Koski, Jaiden McDonald , Priscilla Han, Finn Taylor, Connor Taylor, Esther Pennell, Nissita Francis, Weiqi Xu and Patrick Piao. Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:30 the performers are Olivia Duck, Alexandria Taylor, Ethan Mask and others.

The event is sponsored by St. James’ obviously, and the Downtown Orillia Management Board, Creative Nomad Studios, Makers Market and Orillia Home Hardware.

“Some of the downtown stores are participating, extended hours and stuff like that,” said Anitta. Downtown merchants I know participating are Alleycats Music, Apple Annie’s, Ballare Dance Boutique, Fashion Therapy and Studio 11. There probably will be others.

Makers Market

“Makers Market is also a sponsor. They’ll have some of their newly signed artisans at the market, but then they’ll also have extended hours,” at their store Anitta said.

Check out the Facebook page, they’ve been adding videos about the vendors, and they’ll keep adding as the week runs out.

The Arts District galleries are also going all in. Le Petit Chapeau, Hibernation Arts, Three Crows Speak Studio, Kristine Drummond Art, Mad with Rapture Studio, Stuffed, The Shadowbox, Art & Home Studio, Peter Street Fine Arts Studio & Gallery, Tiffin’s Creative Centre and the Orillia Museum of Art and History are having an Art Hop. Frankly, I’ve been to one of these and I looked, closely, no hopping art; the stuff just sat there.

This is the first Christmas party of the season and you can buy stuff too. There is no admission charge, and Anitta says this is the kind of thing you could go to each day, or several times a day, and it’s going to be different each time.

Oh, Santa will there.

Vote, Vote, Vote – Wait… This Isn’t Chicago?

The Maple Blues Award nomination list is out and Lance Anderson’s Matchedash Parish CD, Saturday Night, got two nominations. As producer, Lance up for Record of the Year and the band is up for New Artist of the Year.

You can vote on those nominations, and a few other categories. Go to the website and register to vote. You have to do it by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time December 1 (2:59 a.m. Dec. 2 here). You will get an email with a password and a link back to the voting page where you can vote for Lance’s project and several other categories.

Christmas Stuff

The Orillia Concert Band’s Christmas Prelude is Dec. 7. It’s at St. Paul’s Centre and the St. Paul’s choir will join the OCB for the 7:30 p.m. show.  There’s a shorter version in the afternoon for the kids at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the afternoon are a maximum of $20 (family, two adults as many very nice children as you have) and range downward. The evening show is $30 and you can still bring the kids because the OCB didn’t hire dancers.

The Hawkestone Singer’s Christmas Concert is December 14 at the Hawkestone Community Hall; call 705-503-2833 for tickets. The Jubilee Chorale’s Christmas concert is December 1 at 2:30 p.m. at Westmount United Church. The Orillia Silver Band concert is December 15 at the Opera House.

The Cellar Singers’s concert is December 14 at St. James’ featuring Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and Conrad Susa’s Christmas in the Southwest and you can get tickets online or at the door.

The Opera House has Ballet Jorgen’s Nutcracker in November 30 for 2 and 7 p.m. shows; The Barra MacNeils perform December 5; the Christmas Panto is Wizard of Oz Dec. 6; Next Generation Leahy Christmas is December 12; the 2019 Canadian Country Christmas Concert is Dec. 13; the Orillia Silver Band’s Christmas concert is December 15 at 2:30 p.m. Opera House warm up Christmas acts include Derek Edwards this Friday and the Downchild Blues Band’s 59th anniversary concert Saturday night.

Arts and Heritage Awards
(Photo by Skeeze / Pixabay)

We need a handy knick-name for the new  Orillia & District Arts Council and OMAH Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards nominations. I’m thinking something like The Heralds, which would be a very roundabout way of recognizing Charles H. Hale because just about all of our institutions owe their existence to him combined with heralding our talented neighbours It would be a nice way of getting around the embarrassment we don’t have so much as an outhouse named for Hale.

I’ve had a couple conversations with Paul Baxter and the organizers about the awards event happening November 27 (5:30 p.m. at the Geneva) and any brainstorming about sets and decorations with Paul is interesting. I think I have an idea what he’s going to do to create a spiffy looking set, but who knows? It will be spiffy, but experience is, not exactly the image I currently have of what it will look like.

Part of it will look OK (stretching here) because I’ll be occupying it some of the time as emcee of the affair (I wish I could have an affair, but this is as close as it gets). The Little Big Band will be there to serenade before, during and after the wards presentations.

Many people (different group than Agent Orange’s people) who attended last year told me they really liked how the awards presentation has changed and become more of a celebration of all our artists, especially those nominated and the award recipients (they told me last year to stop  saying winners).

Oh, the nominees, OSS’s Leanne Young and the Otter Art Club (Travis Shilling / Naomi Woodman) are up for the education award. Craig Mainprize and Mary Jo Pollak duke it out for emerging artist.

The heritage restoration award has only one nominee and that’s the Friends of the Washago Water Tower for the paint job based on John Lebarr’s work. Wait until next year, there’s at least three projects just in the downtown coming on stream, and who knows what else.

The event award has the nominees: Rama Pow Wow, Starry Night, the Mariposa Folk Festival, and the Orillia Heritage Centre. I’m glad I’m not a judge.

Last is the Qennefer Browne Achievement Award and the nominees are Leslie Fournier and Linda Tiffin. Both of them do a lot of work making downtown a vibrant and prettier place.

(Pssst. I heard there is a possibility of an after party with a really great band playing. Don’t mention it to anyone yet, it’s a last minute thing which has to come together)

This is a free event, the bar will be open (that’s not free) and I think everyone had a great time last year, so plan to attend.

The Shorts

*  Rustica is the venue for the Wallboards Auction Kickoff and Video Premiere Thursday night at 7 p.m. A group called the Orillia Skateparkers is raising money for, wait for it, a new skate park. They will be auctioning 40 painted skateboards and showing a new video Blah Blah Blah Blah by Jordan Vandenberg at 8:30 p.m. The auction runs online to Dec. 6 and the artists are (shortlist) Patti Agapi, Paul Baxter, Bones, Steve Caston, Paul Court, Tanya Cunnington, Jamie Haffenden, Carley McCutcheon, Craig Mainprize, Will McGarvey, Mike Scott, Bewabon Shilling, Travis Shilling, Sam Vessios, Naomi Woodman and Smolik.

*  The Leacock Museum has Live and Let Dine, a James Bond themed costume affair like they are known to put on. There will be team building exercises, games, brain teasers, and a Bond themed meal. Tickets are $75 for the Friday night affair and you can call the museum, 705-329-1908, to get them.

*  The 6th Annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party  still has just a few tickets for the block from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Bleeker is going to be playing – bowling and their instruments. The event happens Dec. 13 and you should get tickets now.

VK and the Legends of the Deep are playing a gig at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto Nov. 30. Bonus, Reay is opening. You can get tickets online. Reay also has a gig this Saturday at the Bracebridge Hall.

*  Mike Howell’s Orillia Parks & Rec painting program has expanded to 2 classes. Last June he had an exhibit of student work at the Opera House for the first time in 5 years of the program. Round 2 is Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m., same venue. Proceeds from the silent auction of selected pieces go to Building Hope.

*  The Orillia Museum of Art and History has a fundraiser happening Dec. 6 called Drawliday Festival. The Will Davis Trio with Hugh Coleman will be playing music and tickets are $75. OMAH’s annual Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition is great. Also see Industrial Legacy: A History of Dorr-Oliver-Long, Fibre Content and Ingrid Mayrhofer’s After Krieghoff. OMAH is partnering with Lee Contemporary for a November exhibit called It’s Revealing, featuring work from the Life Drawing class, which will be sold by silent auction. It’s at Lee’s Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. for the rest of the month.

Peter Street Fine Arts is having their annual 6×6 show in December and January. Anyone can participate by picking up two boards ($15), do your thing and bringing them back to be in the show. This long-running show is great for people to pick up a small, reasonably priced, one of a kind gift…  Hibernation Arts has Art for Earth show on display;  the monthly Gallery Concert is with Ian Chaplin Nov. 28.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has trivia night with Bill Dunlop every Thursday evening; Alex Rabbitson is in Friday; The Station plays Saturday… Jakob Pearce plays every Thursday evening at Kensingtons… the Brownstone has Jess Brown in Thursday evening; Mattie Leon is in Friday and Cedar and Pine play Saturday night; Dan Bazinet and guests has his annual birthday fundraiser for the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen Dec. 6.… the Jazz Byrds play Sanafir Fridays and Saturdays.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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