This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Everything’s cancelled or postponed, or closed. That’s it, see you next week. Wait…

This may be the shortest arts/entertainment/culture column in 25 years, but there are a few things you might find interesting to know of.

A concern you may have is not unlike the rugrats who are now present 24/7 – “what do I do now? I used to spend all my time organizing paperclips at the office.” So much time, no imagination.

First, I have found when I’m worried or have anxiety (yes I do have it sometimes) doing the dishes, or maybe deciding it’s time to organize a drawer or closet, maybe thoroughly cleaning a room or the whole house helps to divert attention and actually makes me feel better about things I can’t control. Try it.

If you are like me and the hour for all that is up, there are things you can still do which you may not have had time to do for a while, or maybe forgotten how to do.

Stay off Facebook, but don’t stay off. What I mean is don’t pay attention to 99 percent of what is on your time line, unless it involves videos of puppies. Definitely skip the cat videos. Baby elephants can be entertaining too. The puppies, cats and elephants are really Youtube things, but you get the drift.

For a real outside the mainstream classification of videos, go to and look for the subreddit called Kids Falling Down. Hours of hilarity is guaranteed.

There are two local Facebook groups which have sprung up in the last few days you should check out. CareMongering-Orillia is very new and the purpose is for people who are now cut off from their usual social acquaintances to help each other in various ways. GIVE ORILLIA also has similar things going on, but it was created two months ago.

Read. A book. Jim Foster, Sherry Lawson, and Jamie Lamb have funny and historically informative books with area settings. Jim’s degree of historical accuracy may be a little made up, but he had to start with something that happened in order to skew it. There also recently published books by Dave Town and Marcel Rousseau and of course not so recently published Stephen Leacock.

Speaking of Leacock, more specifically his medal winners and nominees, get a list of those here. I can recommend any of Terry Fallis’s books (even the ones not winning) and the Ferguson brothers. Here is a list of all the books on the 2020 reading list for the medal as well.

There are many other books by those from Orillia, but as you can imagine I’m going nuts following up on several leads, so it isn’t possible to recall every author without taking time to wade through my past columns at the moment.

Manticore Books is the place to get them online, or by calling 705-326-7776 and they’ll deliver to you. You can also search for a specific book on their website.

Listen to some new music, or watch it. What a thing to say, watch music. Youtube has almost replaced my own digital music collection. You can search back through my columns for links to some fantastic music made by your neighbours. You should because I’m likely to miss some.

I’m giving you some Youtube links but please, if you want to download or buy the stuff look for the music on Bandcamp. They pass on better royalties to musicians than any of the other online music listening and buying services. Better yet, check if the band has their own web page, they often have online stores and they make even more money out of a sale.

The Bob Hawkins Band, Bleeker, Reay and VK, Craig Mainprize, Cassie Dasilva, Run with the Kittens, Zain Campbell, Aaron Mangoff, The Jeffery Brothers, and Gordon Lightfoot are ones that come to mind. There are many others to search for on Youtube as well. There’s also this version of Rhapsody in Blue that is new and the best recording of it I have heard.

While I’m on Youtube, there are a few podcasts I follow you might find interesting. Joe Rogan has a wide variety of guests of interest. Sam Harris does too. A relatively new one is Beau of the Fifth Column. He’s American Redneck who thinks like an Ivy League PhD. and engagingly speaks mostly about American political issues, but I find in general many of his messages are universal and apply even in Canada. For lighter stuff George Carlin and Lewis Black have audio books on Youtube I’m sure you’ll like.

Last, a word about the tickets you have to events that are not happening now, or won’t happen at all. Most of the groups will offer refunds, or honour the tickets at the makeup dates. If the event is not going to happen please consider not refunding your ticket.

All our local arts groups operate on shoestring budgets. They all spent money on the events which aren’t going to happen and may not recover those costs. Depending on how long the crisis lasts some of them may not be able to continue with what they have been doing in the community. Consider the money spent on a ticket you have as a donation, and be sure to let whoever is running the event know so they don’t set that amount aside in escrow waiting for refund.

Rants & Raves

Support Independent Journalism