By John Swartz
Culture Days, usually in September, did not get overlooked this year. The provincial arm of the national organization decided to go online and feature different communities each day in October. Orillia was chosen as a feature community and our day is October 24, Saturday.
This event was started here by the Orillia and District Arts Council, long before other communities held their own Culture Days, and we could have stuck with the original September time frame, shot a ton of video, and edited something to run on the Culture Days website, but it’s just as easy to live stream.
Under normal circumstances, we’d all be heading downtown and spending a few hours checking things out on the street or in various venues. That’s not going to happen in 2020. Instead, everything is at Creative Nomad Studio and the livestream is being produced by Creative Nomad.
There will be presentations by the Sawbones Society, which is the name of an online video program and production company. They worked with the Coldwater Steampunk Festival to produce a series and you can see the trailer here. All the episodes are here.
The second volume of stories about this crazy place, Mariposa Exposed, is ready and there will be a few of the stories read.
Orillia Fine Arts Association is represented, and then there will be a workshop about special effects makeup. Next, Peter Stranks will do a workshop about how to photograph your art for online galleries and submissions for exhibition (hint, they are not the same).
Tyler Knight is involved with the video production and you can also watch it as it happens on Creative Nomad’s Youtube page.
It’s done, behind schedule, but done. It’s funny how a pandemic can throw out even the best laid plans.
The 2nd volume has 96 short stories, some by people you would expect to write like Hap Parnaby, Jim Harris, Don Evans, Colin McKim, Rusty Draper, Dave Town, and Nathan Taylor.
There are some stories by people you’d suspect could tell a tale like Blair Bailey‘s story of how Richard Greene ended up in Orillia. It turns out, in a round about way, it was because of a woman. Some of us know how that story goes. Of Course Greene was one of the first teachers of art Franklin Carmichael had, and he kind of makes an appearance in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
Liz Anderson (Hurtubise) recounts some of her school days theater experiences, and her dad, Neil, tells some tails from his return to duty with the Orillia OPP after being shot. “I got a brand new uniform (no holes),” and the detachment got bullet proof vests the next year.
School is a recurring subject. John Smith wrote about his first day after Labour Day as a retired teacher. He went to a teachers group annual breakfast and discovered his Grade One teacher when he was a student was present and accounted for. Mike Hill reminisced about his ODCVI teachers, some many of us would know. In particular was one first-time teacher who greeted the class with, “I hate kids.” According to Mike the teacher had a dry sense of humour.
I find these things fascinating. Writing is a personal thing and sometimes I learn something about an author I didn’t know because of their writing, like maybe one or two actually having a sense of humour. In most cases, it’s learning about things, or more about things, that make Orillia what it is.
Trick Or Something
Gather round kiddies. Have you got your costumes in order? Time to go car hopping for treats. Yes, that’s right, with Halloween on hiatus for the most part this year, leave it up to someone like Derick Lehmann to come up with a way to keep the spirits alive to some degree.
He casually posted the idea online and Kevin Gangloff jumped right in to partner up the Youth Centre with the event which will happen from 1 to 4 p.m. at ODAS Park on the 31st.
He had an idea to borrow an idea he knew of wich is popular in some places south of the border and bring it to Orillia – Trunk or Treat.
The concept is simple. People decorate their cars, kind of like you might the porch, front yard or whatever, and do a tailgate party – but without the beer and brats – and sit by as the kids come by on their candy collection mission.
Unfortunately, in one week all the spots for kids are taken. They organized rounds in 5 minute intervals to keep people at the proper distances and the cars will be parked as such. They do have room for 5 more cars though.
You can register online to participate. Vehicle registration is the top option.
* Congrats to Kate Hilliard on becoming the new creative director for the Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture. She put together the last public program at the Opera House. During the ‘sorry we’re closed for the COVID Season’ times The Orillia Centre has been focusing on school and arts education opportunities. She’s bringing a lot to the role as a performer and post-secondary teacher.
* The next installment of the Mariposa Virtual Stage with Joni Mitchell is online here. The next one is Nov. 18 with Buffy Ste. Marie and Celeigh Cardinal.
* I think we could all use a good laugh. Hopefully by Nov. 19 we’ll be ready to laugh because Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing Norm Foster’s The Christmas Tree. I don’t know much about this play, yet, but it’s foster and around here Fosters are funny. Some of the members of the Orillia Silver Band are part of the production too. Get tickets here. There’s a two week run with matinees on Thursdays and Sundays.
* Vern Bignell has his art hanging around at Bakes by the Lake.
* There are two youth center fundraisers happening to establish scholarship funds. One in memory of Jake Beers the Beers family calls hxmesweethxme. Check out their Facebook page for opportunities to contribute. Anitta Hamming also created an online raffle for two of the paintings created for the Metamorphosis project. You can get a ticket here, and you can also see, or buy, other art at that link.
* OMAH has a Carmichael Lecture discussion of Carmichael by Wil Kucey of Canadian Fine Arts you can watch online. Oct. 21 another online event happens; the 2020 Virtual Carmichael Art History Lecture with Jim and Sue Waddington, who travelled to the places painted by the Group of Seven; It’s $10 to participate and you sign up at 705-326-2159 to get a link to the event. OMAH also has another round of the QuarARTine, 6×6 pieces for auction here and the gallery is open by appointment, 705-326-2159.
* 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. Check their Facebook page frequently for updates on the jackpot and weekly winners.