This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

The Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture has a series of online workshops and performances coming up February 6 and 7. It’s called Pixels, Programming and Pragmatism and there are 5 workshop/events. Taking part is free.

We all been seeing tons of videos since last March by various performers and groups of performers and while it seems apparent how they are doing it, when it gets right down to replicating it for yourself there are missing pieces of information. How did Mick and the boys actually pull off performing You Can’t Always Get What You Want when they weren’t in the same place (fair amount of technical issues to overcome), or how do teachers and students do school online are examples of mixing media and collaboration.

Art and Photo by Driftnote

Everything starts with a panel discussion with Freya Olafson, Jeremy Mimnagh, Omar River and Luke Garwood about doing art online – by yourself or in collaboration with others. Register here.

At 2 p.m. Freya Olafson and Luke Garwood lead a workshop called Introduction to AR. AR is Augmented Reality, which is digitally putting things into real time video that isn’t there. An example is replacing the sunny shores of St. Barts with a cozy, Christmas decorated room (it works with audio too, so waves slapping the beach can be replaced). Another is replacing bloodshot eyes with googly eyes that respond to facial movement and position for important conference video calls. Register here.

On February 7 there are three events. The first at 11 a.m. is a workshop about creating an online identity and presence using Squarepsace  with Sean Rees. Register for this event here.

At 2 p.m. a workshop by Franchesca Chudnuff and Omar Rivero is about how to take ideas to completion using Augmented Reality, 3D scanning and music and video editing. Register here.

At 7 p.m. the event closes with performances By T.M. Glass, Francesca Chudnuff and Driftnote and and ensemble performance featuring Fides Krucker. Register here.

Mid-Week Party

Judging by the comments for the vast army of Facebook friends postings, it seems to me a lot of Canadians were glued to the television and internet Wednesday for the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, along with Bernie Sander’s cameo appearance. I’m guessing many of you did too and it was probably the highlight of your viewing week.

Of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brook’s performances I think Lady Gaga was just outstanding. The whole time she was singing though, I couldn’t help think of a certain person here in town who works in television and film who has a pretty funny story about working at one of her television performances in Toronto. Butt, I’m not going to say his name, that’s narrowing down the field enough.

The poem read by Amanda Gorman wasn’t just a piece of poetry. The delivery of it took it to a height few can achieve reading, or reciting their work. She was the first to be named National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. That’s not the same as being the United States Poet Laureate  (which frequent Orillia summer cottager Billy Collins was from 2001 to 2003). She is also the youngest person invited to speak at an inauguration. Even though the poetry was specific to current events in the U.S., I think there are some nuggets for Canadians to mull. Here’s a copy of the poem.

Of particular note, when Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, Acting Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms preceded Kamala Harris down the steps, the Marine Band played a piece of music I recognized. I knew it was something played by the Kilites Drum Cops from Racine Wisconsin and a few hours later I was still trying to come up with the name of it. I hopped onto a website which documents everything you want to know about drum corps from today to as far back as the information is available, to look it up and found out it was called McDuffy’s March written by a friend of mine, Mike Duffy.  It turns out it was an original piece, not an arrangement of someone else’s music. Mike wrote brass charts for many corps and was at one time the brass instructor for the De La Salle Oaklands, the drum corps that begat the Oakland Crusaders of which I was a member. It was kind of cool to make the connection.

The Old Guard (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Kingston, U.S. Army/Released)

Then there was the pass in review. Some day an American TV network is going to show a parade properly. On NBC and PBS the program hosts spoke over the bands. I saw the U.S. Army Old Guard bringing up the rear and was anticipating them because I have friends who are snare drummers in the band. Not only did their audio from the street take a bigger volume hit than the others – but they cut away before they got to the drums at the back of the formation.

Things did not get better for the virtual parade. American TV networks certainly know how to add cheese to parades. I can’t even watch New Year’s parades anymore, I wait for raw feeds to pop up on Youtube. The first band they showed was the Coast Guard band – and they dubbed in the music the band was supposedly playing (through facemasks) live and interrupted the tune in a cheesy way with a remark from a band member. I also don’t get the choices many states made of bands and drumlines to represent them. In each case I know of a dozen or more bands or drumlines that are better than what I saw. I think a complicating factor this time around was taking what was available because many groups are just not functioning right now.

I’m not even going to talk about the Earth Wind and Fire appearance (though they did the tune I was thinking they should do)  in the parade (which was really just Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey) and how that performance got all cut up. PBS did however get the appearance of The New Radicals doing You Get What You Give right; that I enjoyed.

Music Music

Reay has just upload to Youtube their newest video for the song Junkyard. You can watch it and other video they’ve produced here.

Hippie Van by Lawrence Boyer

Likewise, Zain Campbell has a new video for his tune Fences, which is a tribute to Jake Beers. He has other videos to see here.

Steven Henry is still singing songs on Saturday nights. Check in at 8 p.m. here.

Not music, but about music; Leslie Fournier has begun to post pictures of this year’s Streets Alive Hippie Van outdoor project. The motivator for the theme is the 60th anniversary (+1) of the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Write On

The Leacock Associates opened the annual student writing competition this week. It’s open to high school and college students ages 14 to 19. They are looking for the student who can write the most humourous story in 1500 words or less.

There are prizes of $1,000, $700 and $300, plus finalists get to read their stories at the June 4 Meet the Authors night – assuming there can be an event this year. The prize money comes from the Dunkley Charitable Foundation donation which is sponsoring the student contest and the Medal for Humour prizes for the next 5 years.

There’s a long list of entry details which can be found here. Of note, three copies of the essay must be submitted – one for the archives, one for the judges, one for the shredder. I see they dropped the height requirement (4’7”) and it’s about time. Email for more details or questions, they have all the answers including how does air get into tires and what exactly where the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups doing that produced Reece’s Pieces.

Tourism Grants

The Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7), of which Orillia is a partner had non-repayable grants ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 for small and medium size tourism businesses and not-for-profits.

This money is intended to assist with pandemic expenses like addition or expansion of patios at restaurants, plexiglass barriers at counters or between tables, touchless payment systems, reservation systems, sanitization stations, COVID-19 sanitizer fogging equipment and other items. The definition of what qualifies as being in the tourism sector is:

  • Accommodation (hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds and recreational vehicle facilities)
  • Recreation and entertainment (zoos, museums, theatres, sports facilities, amusement parks, government parks, heritage sites, hunting, fishing or outdoor adventure outfitters, casinos)
  • Food and beverage services (restaurants from fast service to fine dining, as well as pubs, nightclubs, cruise ships and convention centres)
  • Travel service (retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies, corporate offices with their own booking divisions)
  • Transportation (companies that provide transport by air, land or water, and include airlines, bus companies, taxi companies, ferry services and cruise ships)
  • Not-for-profit enterprises and Indigenous organizations/communities that support tourists
  • Retail stores heavily dependent on tourism may also be considered

The City’s senior manager of business development, Laura Thompson, sent a note saying this is s good opportunity for businesses to apply for funding with an eye toward being able to participate in this summer’s patio program, See You On The Patio. She said expenses for the program have to be made by March 31.

Applications can be downloaded here, and the deadline is January 31.

(Images Supplied) Main: Orillia Centre presents Freya Olafson.

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