This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The extra time we’ve all had, first staying at home, then not having anything to do after being let out, has caused many people to do some thinking about the state of many things.

One of those things is how the Orillia and District Arts Council can improve its presence in the community. Under the guilt by association category, having only the internet for such a long time to stay in touch with the world prompted the folks at ODAC to want to find different ways of being online.

During the last few years much time has been spent supporting and working on events. ODAC had in the past been doing more on the uniting and advocacy front, there was even a storefront presence in the Arts District, but a subsequent period of flagging active involvement by artists leaving too much work in the hands of too few people is being reversed. The board is bigger they are signing up members, and there is better interest in what ODAC can do for the arts community and the community in general.

They are applying for a grant from the Digital Strategy Fund, which is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The purpose of the grant is to get groups to get online, or be effective online if they already have a nifty website that isn’t doing much. The board has had discussion about what needs to be done, the question is how best to do it.

Some of you must be thinking after all this time going online shouldn’t be a mystery, but it is for the majority of people. It’s kind of like driving, there are a lot of people out there who have been driving for 20 years and still don’t know cars come with turn signals. Some things seem obvious to some people, but not to others.

Doing something to help artists in a digital world sprang from conversation in a conference call ODAC and the City of Orillia hosted with artists about what needs to be done between now and when we can go out and play like we used. Many of the artists expressed they’d like to go digital but didn’t really understand how. Bottom line they all lost their customers and wanted to find ways to reach them.

If the grant is approved a series of online conferences are planned with artists and interested parties to fine tune what needs to happen to improve ODAC’s online presence. It’s anticipated there will be 6 meetings over two months of about 2 hours length each time. A starting list of topics includes creating online galleries, selling art on line and workshops.

“This grant is for ODAC to become a better organization to be able to do those things. We’re kind of stuck. We’re expected to do certain things, but we’re not equipped to do them,” said ODAC president Lynn Fisher.

 I think having a community discussion board could be an asset. There are about a dozen arts related Facebook pages now and sometimes they work in concert, sometimes not. The latter creates a fracturing of information. While it doesn’t matter like-minded people get together in one place to talk shop, there should be one definite source all the sub-communities can use as a jumping off point or resource.

I think it’s good those on the ODAC board are taking a big picture view of arts in the area and it would certainly be helpful if the splinter groups at least agreed on supporting a central organization (joining ODAC) because everyone shares an interest in making the whole arts community stronger.

The Future Of News?

Aren’t you glad the money you pay for stuff, which those companies then spend on advertising to get you to buy more stuff, is being used as it is in this example of a news story on CTV?

It must be the tough economy (I’ve been living in one for 60 years) because apparently CTV couldn’t afford to have someone voice over the copy, but somehow could afford someone to do a cheap looking copy caption. I’m pretty sure CTV just bought this from some stock service, which is pretty cheap compared to paying people to actually go out and report news.

I miss the days of good journalism. Heck, I’d like it if there was any kind of journalism happening on the main stream, because most of what I see, sadly even on the CBC (which used to be the example of good I used), is not very good. This is the by-product of consolidation, lower standards as experienced journalists are shoved out the door to pay for acquisition costs.

One more thing about the example bugs me. It’s the title of the almost news story. It looks like the pretentious restaurant industry is foisting a new term on us, Resto, and some whippersnapper of an intern (interns are real cheap)  thought it would be hip to use it. I think it’s the lazy way of saying restaurant and it sounded trendy – and why shouldn’t news be trendy? That was a bit of sarcasm. That’s on whoever has the job writing headlines because the term does not appear in the copy. I hope restro doesn’t catch on for general use (even Bill Gates thinks its a spelling error).

Maybe it’s because I work with words to covey ideas and have a bit of an understanding they have power, but the use of made up words to describe things we already have perfectly good words for bugs me. Using the wrong words also bugs me. Visit City Hall (when it’s open again, or watch a council meeting online) and you can hear language mangling, like using the word fulsome as if it means more full. They really should turn their minds to speaking properly because some people take the weight of what is said at City Hall as being important. By the way, turning your mind isn’t as painful as it sounds, maybe just a little more than turning attention is, because everyone is back to the office the next day.

The Shorts

*  The Opera House is presenting some stuff. August 19 is the first night for a run of Norm Foster’s On a Fist Name Basis, with Viviana Zarrillo and Jesse Collins. It will run to September 4. After that there are a few concerts by tribute acts leading up to October appearances by the Stampeders and by the Good Brothers with Sylvia Tyson. Seating will be limited and you can order tickets online.

*  The annual Terry Fox Run is still going to happen September 20, you’re all just not going to meet at Couchiching Beach Park and do it together this year. There are a lot of ways to participate and keep the 11 year record of raising more than $1 per person living in Orillia and you can find out how here. They are also collecting stories from participants of past runs to share on their social media accounts; send a message to Mackenzie Atkinson with your story or for more info.

Mariposa 2020 Album
Mariposa Folk Festival 2020 Album

*  Music from the artists of the concert that never was, the Mariposa Folk Festival, has its annual compilation album ready for you. Each year they package up songs from the artists appearing at the festival. This year it music by Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, David Francey, Dala, Reuben and the Dark, OKAN, and others The vinyl is $40 and the CD $20. You can order them at 705-326-3655. Shipping and taxes are extra. You can save the shipping cost by arranging pick up. They also have some videos to enjoy on their Youtube page, or their website

*  The Orillia Youth Centre’s Roots North Music Festival Revisited concert is happening September 26th. No acts have been announced and it will be at the Sunset Barrie Drive-in (Oro-Medonte Line 4 at Highway 11). Previous versions of this concert have been great, so you might want to get tickets now.

*  Creative Nomad Studios has a new art project, Metamorphosis, happening Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Catherine Cadieux, Pauline Tofflemire, Katheryn Kaiser, Virginia Barlow, Marlene Bulas, Douglas Porter, and Anitta Hamming will be on Mississaga Street in the pedestrian mall painting. There are few restaurants (Common StoveEclectic CaféCards and Coasters – Sweet Time Bake Shoppe isn’t close by, but part of the event) where you can eat while watching the kids get paint all over their hands and clothes. The work will be part of an exhibition next month, but you can buy any of the pieces right away. Also see the Passions exhibit, featuring the work of Cathy Boyd in the windows of Creative Nomad – those you can buy online.

*  The Leacock Museum is open again. Admission is limited to small groups, 5 people max,  and you have to call ahead (705-329-1908) to book a tour of Stevie’s old house. The  hours are noon to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. The Bistro is still closed. Swanmore Hall is available for business meetings of no more than 10 people, but is otherwise closed. Jenny Martynyshyn is going to be the only staff person come September, so 2021 programming is on hold. Check the website for updates and more details.

*  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. The last jackpot was $1000. Check their Facebook page frequently for updates on the jackpot and weekly winners.  

*  Live music on the web –

*  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.

*  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.

*  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.

(Images Supplied)

Rants & Raves

Support Independent Journalism