This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

If you were around town Wednesday, you might have noticed some different activity at the Hasty Tasty on Laclie Street in the morning, and downtown in front of the Bird House Nature Company and Perfect Timing in the afternoon.

They were shooting a movie, Home For Christmas.

“It’s a Hallmark like movie,” said producer Jessica Reis.

Brain Power Studio of Barrie/Newmarket has been shooting movies culled from romance novels for about eight years. This one will end up on American cable channel Up TV.

It’s the second time the Hasty Tasty has been used as a movie set and owner Joan Churchill doesn’t know why it gets chosen.

“They just phoned me,” Churchill said. I think they just kind of drive around, Google locations of restaurants.”

Downtown, store windows had bells and snowflakes sprayed onto windows – and fake snow on the sidewalk.

Movie crew getting Mississaga Street ready for Christmas

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 The Bird House Nature Company proprietor Patricia Cousineau.
The Bird House Nature Company proprietor Patricia Cousineau.

“I’ve seen them do it on the main street before, so it’s great they are doing it again and bringing exposure to Orillia,” said The Bird House Nature Company proprietor Patricia Cousineau. She took over the store from Janet Grand May 1.

The actors Adrian Sencer (seen in episodes of TV series What We Do in the Shadows, The Beaverton and 12 Monkeys) and Paniz Zade (TV Series Wedding Planners, The Handmaid’s Tale and the movie 50 Shades Darker) won’t be setting foot inside the stores because they are shooting street scenes.

Home For Christmas producer Jessica Reis

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“We really like the small town because there’s a small town in our movie and this has the perfect look,” Reis said of the downtown.

The production company was shooting at the train station on Front Street Tuesday and will be at the Comfort Inn Thursday and will return to the Barrie area to finish shooting. The movie will be ready for TV viewing at Christmas.

Making Downtown Look Great

If you were to come up with something quick to replace the annual banner and street sculptures we’ve grown accustom to seeing in downtown Mariposa, something simple and cheap to make, what would you do?

Leslie Fournier came up with butterflies. Two weeks ago she put out the call for artists to help and they started going up on lamp poles last week.

Butterfly Art

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And Sounding Great

There is still room for musicians to perform at the Friday and Saturday night pedestrian mall on Mississaga and Peter Streets. It’s been nice to hear music being played the past few weeks, but the City of Orillia needs to book more for the remaining weeks of the project. You can go to the City’s website, scroll down to Patio Project and find out how to get a paid gig.

And the Arts District galleries, Hibernation Arts, the Shadowbox, Three Crows Speak Studio,  and Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery have another Art Walk Friday night.

First Again

Our Opera House is the first theater in the province to reopen and they have a play, Norm Foster’s On a Fist Name Basis, starting August 19. It stars Viviana Zarrillo and Jesse Collins.

I had a conversation with Opera House GM Wendy Fairbairn and she said because of the physical distancing rules it was hard to come up with a project because all the actors would have to be in the same social bubble, which Vivianna and Jesse happen to be. These two are such good actors I didn’t know they were a couple off stage.

The play will be in Gord’s Room and of course the audience is limited to 50 people. The good news is ticket buyers can get seats together so long as you are in a social bubble. There will only be one performance per day, no matinee evening combos on the same day because the whole theater has to be cleaned between performances – the whole theater, not just the seats occupied.

 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 for the play or concerts online. Wendy also said she may have something unique happening September 19, a concert, with some big names, but the ink isn’t dry on the contracts so she won’t have details until next week.

On Music Reviews

One of the things I don’t get to do when I’m writing a column is deep dive into some of the music you folks write. There is just too much going on (in normal times) and I end up going to shorthand I think many of you understand.

When I mention the production, the arrangements, the playing, the basic lyric or music writing (in combination or individually) it’s because those things jumped out at me as being really good. Often I want to be more specific about those things, why a particular artist excelled, or maybe why they came close, but it can get pretty boring for most readers.

When all those things are excellent you get music like the songs Rick Beato analyzes on his Youtube channel. Earlier this week he took on Gord’s If You Could Read My Mind.

Of course, often one or more of those elements is not equal to the others, especially for musicians who are young and just starting to write songs or record. It’s helpful to learn how to make songs better. Rick covers all the bases here, the elements that come together to make timeless music. I thought it might be instructive for local musicians to listen to his analysis because you want to hit all the buttons with your music.

The Shorts

*  The Orillia Youth Centre’s Roots North Music Festival Revisited concert is happening September 26th. Acts are being announced next week 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. They are $35 each, but if you have 3 friends, and you’re going to be in the same car, you can get 4 tickets for $125, which is a discount.

*  Creative Nomad Studios has the art created during the Metamorphosis, project, which happened the last 2 Friday nights on Mississaga Street drumming the street closing, displayed in the windows at the end of this week. The artists are Catherine Cadieux, Pauline Tofflemire, Katheryn Kaiser, Virginia Barlow, Marlene Bulas, Douglas Porter, Cathy Boyd, Paul Baxter, Tanya Cunnington, Stephanie Whalen, Raune-lea Marshall, Dyln Court, and Anitta Hamming.

*  OMAH’s new version of QuarARTine 6×6 pieces for auction is up here. There are 20 new pieces in this 4th round and so far the museum has raised $2100 of which a portion will be donated to the arts community.

Mazo de la Roche

*  The folks who nominate people for the Orillia Hall of Fame knew something many others didn’t, Mazo de la Roche lived in Orillia. She’s been on the wall as long as I can remember, but apparently the rest of the world only discovered it in 2006 when a biographer stumbled on the fact. I guess some people should have been reading this column because I’ve mentioned her name in connection with living here many times. The history arm of OMAH has a fascinating article about de la Roche here, and 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.

*  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 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.  

*  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 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.

Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Hasty Tasty’s Joan Churchill had an eventful day Wednesday when a movie crew showed up to shoot.

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