This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

So the Images Thanksgiving Studio Tour is cancelled, so is Starry Night, but Mariposa is lingering. Thursday night at 8 p.m. you can surf into their Facebook page, their Youtube page, or their website and watch a half hour of Serena Ryder playing some music.

And as of Friday a lot of things are opening back up around here, including restaurants. People can gather in groups larger than 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, so long as the venue is big enough for physical distancing.

This has musicians salivating because they can get back to some kind of work. Here in town, an outdoor gig might net enough cash, maybe an indoor gig will too. But, it’s not like anyone is going to be able to do that every week.

It’s funny, bands used to play bars for 6 day stretches, or all weekend, and every night would have enough patrons to make it worthwhile to the venue operator and the band. I can remember going to see some bands several times a week if they were that good. Back then most bands were worth seeing more than once a week. But when that died out, and bands could only book one night in a venue, paying customers became conditioned to want something different every night. Now week long, or three day long gigs are rare, even in larger cities. The idea of any one musician or band holding a weekly gig, even one night only, will eventually not have enough draw – unless there is more than one set with different openers.

Don’t hold your breath restaurants are going to be back to booking musicians because they are still going to be limited to 50 percent capacity and have to do a number of things that will add to the cost of doing business. I’m going to bet there won’t be much money left, if anything, for musicians.

Plus it’s expensive to set up a concert in a place not usually used, like a park, or open space. First you have to have electricity on hand. All the things you’d have available at a bricks and mortar venue need to be scrounged – and paid for. I think ticket prices would be a bit higher than what we are used to paying.

However, I’m sure someone out there is entrepreneurially inclined enough to figure out how to set something up somewhere that will serve as an outdoor venue on a regular basis until this virus eventually peters out, or we get a vaccine.

On That Note

The folks at Roots North have been working on an idea to have some kind of event this year, and it’s going to happen September 26 at the Sunset Barrie Drive In (Oro-Medonte Line 4 at Highway 11).

This is a version of the Roots North Revisited concerts they have been doing for a few years in the fall. There is no performance line up yet, but you can get tickets now. I can say, no lineup is not a drawback. Every one of the fall concerts they have put together has been outstanding and you won’t be disappointed. They’ve been sold out, so even if it turns out you can’t go, you’ll easily find someone to take over you tickets.

New Ear Candy

Will Dunlop has a gig playing music on 89.1 MaxFM Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight. It wouldn’t be radio if he didn’t have an on-air name, so Wilverine it is.

Meanwhile out in Ramara, John Lebarr has been playing his guitar, and he’s put up a recording of Somewhere Over The Rainbow n his Youtube channel. It’s an instrumental blues version I know you’re going to like.

Thoughts About The Mall

Last Friday’s first version of a pedestrian mall on Mississaga and Peter Streets was pretty good. Yeah it rained, but not enough to end it too soon, except for the artists. It came down hard enough for a few minutes they put their stuff back inside, but stayed open.

I happened to have finished up with a nice burger and something liquid just in the nick of time to take cover. I hardly got wet, and when it was over continued on with enjoying the evening. It was great to see people again.

There was plenty of room for people to socialize on the street. As near as I could tell, all the restaurants which put tables out were full – even after the rain.

I spoke with Laura Thompson for a bit. She is the City’s staffer who co-ordinated their end and put together the report council had to work with. I had noticed the blocks of Mississaga between Front and Matchedash and Pater and West weren’t closed and she told me there wasn’t anyone ready to use the street so they decided just to close the middle block and one at the library. This will likely change as businesses become prepared to use the space.

I hope they move to include Saturday nights shortly. And now that musicians can work, the money set aside to hire them to perform in the same way as is done for the DOMB sidewalk sales should be activated. Music was the only aspect missing from last Friday.

The Arts District galleries plan to provide extra incentive for people to go downtown by having Summer Outdoor Artwalks from 6 to 9 p.m. July 24, August 7 and 21. Galleries participating are Hibernation Arts, the Shadowbox, Three Crows Speak Studio, Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery.

The mall will be active again Friday from 4 to 11 p.m.

Tudhope Art Project

The City of Orillia is creating a butterfly garden at the entrance to Tudhope Park and including some form of permanent art. What kind?

The submission period closes July 17 at 4 p.m. Details and a drawing of the garden can be found here. The art should be durable, maintenance free and weather proof. A concept can be one piece or several pieces. If it’s interactive, that’s OK.

There is a $5,000 budget which includes material, installation and artist fee. There will be interviews about submissions the following week and a design will be chosen by July 24. The installation will happen in the fall.

It might be helpful to know what plants will be used. Heartleaved Aster, Ornamental Onion, Common Yarrow, Common Milkweed, Purple Coneflower, See Holly, Sneezeweed, English Lavender, Shasta Daisy, Catmint, Black-Eyed Susan, Pincushion, Stone Crop, meadow Sage and Showy Stonecrop are the varieties.

The Shorts

*  The Orillia branch of Dress For Success has a progressive, online, raffle called Toonie Tuesday. Tickets are $2 and you can buy as many as you like. Half of what you spend goes into the pot, the other half to Dress For Success. Check their Facebook page frequently for updates on the jackpot and weekly winners.  

*  Streets Alive is working on a project we’ll be seeing soon. Leslie Fournier said there could be as many as 100 of them, which will be mounted on street light poles. David Shaw is making a couple versions of butterflies, which will be painted and pop up around the downtown. I didn’t know we had that many street lights downtown; it might not be a good idea to stay rooted to one spot for too long, you could end up with a butterfly mounted on you. Send a note to [participate through the link above; Leslie Fournier travels with blank Butterflies, so if you see her speak to her about it and you will likely get one right away.

*  Live music on the web –

*  Nick Keays and The North River  (Kristina Skeries (fiddle), David Kaye (bass)) have been working on new music. They unveiled Above The Smoke, this week. You can see the video, and others here. There’s another song to listen to on their Youtube channel.

*  ODAC and the Orillia Museum of Art and History opened nominations for this year’s Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards. The categories are Education in Arts, Culture and Heritage; Emerging Artist; Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication; Event in Arts, Culture and Heritage; and Qennefer Browne Achievement Award. Nomination information and forms are online.

*  OMAH has the second lot of the QuarARTtine fundraiser online. It’s an auction of 6×6 inch art. Most of the first lot of 20 pieces sold and you can view the art and participate here.

*  The history arm of OMAH has been posting videos on Youtube of the Speaker’s Night’s that would have been. The most recent is about Glenn Gould, and the one before is about a group of RCMP officers drowning on Lake Simcoe. See the whole bunch here.

Never Saw Blue Like That by Cathy Boyd

*  Creative Nomad Studios has a new art exhibit, Passions, featuring the work of Cathy Boyd at their Mississaga Street location (across from the Orillia Public Library) which can be seen as you wander the pedestrian mall Friday, or any time – it’s in the windows. If you see something you like, you can buy it online.

*  The Orillia Public Library has a number of things you can do online through their website. They have games and programs to participate in as individuals or in groups. You can download music, movies and audiobooks. You can also take online courses.

(Photo by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Images Supplied) Main: Serena Ryder.

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