This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Over at the Leacock Museum, they’ve been out of touch with humanity for so long, they forgot how to use the phones. I called to clear up some info and the person who answered sounded flustered after I asked to speak with Jenny Martynyshyn. A minute and a half later when I was about to hang up and try again the phone clattered and there she was.

“We haven’t used the phone so long, we forgot how to put people on hold,’ she said.

Imagine that. At the one place in the world where it’s not good to have a faux pas, in case someone with a pen or keyboard should notice and make hay of it – they forgot how to use the phones. I haven’t been on a bike in a couple years and I bet I could make it to the end of the driveway, likely in one piece too. Never mind the last time I was on my bike, I thought I was going to die. It had been a couple decades and apparently you need to use pedaling muscles now and then or a short trip from downtown out to The Narrows will feel like the Tour de France. At least I had the good sense to start downtown instead of my end of town – at the top of the hill, or I never would have made it back.

How’d I get here? It started with the bike, as in nobody forgets how to use a bike, but apparently how to use the vital tool of the day, well, that can fly away with the wind.

She also said the person who answered the phone just started and the offices had been moved, so there was some confusion how to operate the phone and what extension to send my call to. I asked if they also forgot to activate music on hold because The Sound of Silence really is a song that would have come in handy at that moment while I tried to figure out what happened. The best part? I was waiting so long I had time to read my info again and found my answer before Jenny got to the phone. It was almost straight out of Literary Lapses.

The Leacock Museum is open, kind of, sort of. You can book a tour, 705-329-1908, for your group of 5 or less. They start Wednesday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours are available every day except Monday and Tuesday. It’s a guided tour which is perfect for people who have visitors to show of how cultured we are here.

The other thing they have going on is outdoor theater. Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing Bard In The Yard: Twelfth Night From August 25 to September 5. It’s adapted version of the play with Leacock and Orillia references added in. They’ll be using the front porch of Stevie’s house for the stage. There are a bunch of showtimes, and you can get tickets online.

Back On The Street

There is still room for businesses to apply for funding for entertainment on their patios. Businesses can apply for funds right now. I understand there are plenty of musicians on the list already, but if you want to take a chance apply online.

Creative Nomad Studios’s next open air workshop is July 30 and you can learn how to paint flowers in abstract (right up my alley, I tired flowers once, the instructor said, nice, um, nice, use of colour). It starts at 7 p.m. and you need to register. The link appears to be dead at the moment, but go here for details and maybe it will be fixed for you.

Making Art on the Street At Creative Nomad

In the same neighbourhood, same place too, Cloud Gallery has a new show called The Muskoka Summer Show featuring works by Craig Mainprize, Brigitte Granton, Julia Veenstra, Lisa Hickey, Lori Burke, Sarah Carlson, Shane Norrie and Victoria Pearce.

OMAH is open. Stop by to see Will McGarvey’s exhibit, Sticks and Stones. You can also check out the opening with Will and Jill Price online. OMAH also has some outside things you can do. A Saints and Sinners tour got a new name – Gangs, Guns and Grog: True Stories of Orillia’s Wild West Days and the tour happens Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Register online. A Friday night tour for families is open for registration, and they have a Saturday morning outdoor program for kids. They’ll be on the street Friday nights with activities.

Peter Street looked very good last Friday night. There were a lot more artists on hand to show their work under the starts, which we could have seen if the clouds would have moved on. They’ll be back this week.

Shadowbox Artists in the Arts District

Last week I mentioned the Orillia Farmers’ Market was operating in the courtyard between the Orillia public Library and the Opera House. I was wrong. But they are setting up this week from 5 to 9 p.m.

Youth Centre Concert

The Roots North Revisited Youth Centre fundraising concert September 25 has more tickets they can sell. Last I heard they have 33 left. Originally they were only allowed to sell 100 tickets and they were cleared for another 75. Irish Mythen is the headliner. There has been no announcement this week of additional acts on the dance card. You can get tickets online, and you can also order food prepared by Ecelctic Café. Also the folks behind the Hxmesweethxme Jake Beers Scholarship fund are having a poker run July 24. Check out their Facebook page for details and look for them downtown on the weekends.

Marci Csumrik’s Orillia Youth Centre dental care fundraiser is still on. She came into possession of a number of old vinyl records (a mix of bands and singers from Mel Torme to the Bee Gees) and is selling them on her Facebook page. All the money is going into the Youth Centre’s dental care fund so kids from families which can’t afford proper care can get it.

Really? You Just Had To Do that?

Our friend Joe Cornelisse posted an interesting video yesterday. It’s a live action clip of some dingbat vandalizing one of the Hippy Vans, located on Mississaga Street near Dapper Depot.

I don’t know why people have to be so hurtful with their shenanigans. Of all the things downtown to take out your limited options and poor life choices on, this jerk had to go after someone’s hard work, ripping it apart. It’s not only painful for the artist involved, but I’m sure all the artists who have seen the video felt a cringe go up their spine. Take a look; I’m absolutely sure someone can identify this cretin because the video is better quality than the kind of stuff you get from the bank.

Meanwhile, the ballots for the Hippy Van event are out. You can get them at Jack & Maddy A Kids Store and Orillia Museum of Art & History. Each sculpture has a name plate on the base with a number. You can vote using those numbers for 3 vans. Though nothing is firm, the winner of the exhibition this year should be announced in August around the time Starry Night would have happened.

The Legend Lives On

Dolores Claman died last week. The 94-year-old wrote two of the most famous pieces of music, which kind of define Canada. First in 1967 there was A Place To Stand, the theme song for Ontario’s part of the Expo in Montreal in 1967. This is a tune even Americans got to learn to love. Of course along the border they got it from the multitude of commercial airings, but also the drum corps I came from, The De La Salle Oaklands, had it as part of their show for several years. It was their signature tune and crowds all over the United States usually erupted in wild applause when the final charge to the stands happened.

The other tune Claman wrote every Canadian knows, and if you don’t know it, how did you make it this far? The only thing in hockey lore hockey older than theme song for Hockey Night in Canada is how long it’s been since the Leafs Won the cup. She wrote it 1968. It wasn’t until ten years later when her kids brought their friends home from school she realized just how popular it had become. She is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and should be in the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame too.

While we’re on passages a drummer most people have heard play also passed this week. Jerry Granelli was in Vince Guaraldi’s trio, a band which is best known for the Charlie Brown Christmas music soundtrack. Before Charlie Brown there was Cast Your Fate To The Wind on the pop charts of the day – back when jazz could be on the pop charts. He also played with Miles Davis and the Grateful Dead, and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He moved to Halifax in the 1980s. He was a vital member of the Halifax Jazz Festival for 25 years focusing on education His last public appearance was at a jazz festival workshop event on Sunday. Around here, the Charlie Brown tunes often get included on repertoires for Orillia Brassworks and other groups.

Mostly Online Distracters

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian has an anniversary coming up. The pipe organ is 100 years old this year. With 5,000 pipes, it’s the third biggest organ in Canada. Marshall Martin gets to play it on Sunday’s, and just about any time he feels like it. There’s a video the church has produced that shows all the workings and Marshall explains what all the parts do.

July 16 and 17 former students of Park Street Collegiate are getting together for a reunion at Barnfield Point Rec Centre. Music is by Even Steven and Pete Sanderson and Friends. Get tickets online.

Ayden Miller and his band, New Friends, have a cool new pop new tune called Coming Back For You out. You watch the video now.

Some Rama musicians made a video called Rama Players Presents: Acoustic Music of the 70’s. The players are James Simcoe, Leanne McRae-Douglas, Ronnie Douglas, Rick Benson and Scotty Snache and it was recorded for First Nation’s Day. They play songs by CSN&Y, Gregg Allman, The Eagles, Peter Frampton, Supertramp, Robbie Robertson, Neil Young and the Beatles which were favourites in the Rama community back in the day. You can play it from the website, or download it in HD or SD here.

The Opera House has cancelled the first play (Norm Foster’s Come Down From Up River ) of the summer theater season. They also are not betting regulations will allow the second one, Driving Miss Daisy, to be possible – so both will be part of the 2022 season. The good news, Norm Foster will be on stage for his own Old Love, starting August 18. You can get your tickets online for the Opera House summer theater. If you have tickets already you can change them to the last play, or credit them to next year. To make the switch, call the box office at 705-326-8011 or email

Breakthrough by MJ Pollock

Sustainable Orillia’s second round of their year-long effort to inspire artists to make environmentally themed work had 8 artists submit work. MJ Pollock’s piece, Breakthrough, was chosen for this quarter’s contest and got a $75 prize.

Nate Robertson has some new music to listen to. A drummer, he also can play other instruments and his latest work is more of an exploration of sound. You can listen to the music from his Synchronized Stratification EP (and buy it) on his Bandcamp page. You’ll also find his previous recordings there too.

Aaron Mangoff has put out 5 EP’s and 3 singles in the last year and you can hear them here.

Check out Stuart Steinhart’s excellent new album, It’s About Time, on Bandcamp.

Joe Huron will not continue playing jazz guitar Sunday’s at noon. He’s back to work at the British Arms Pub in Barrie from 2 to 5 p.m. Chris Robinson will be playing along on sax.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)

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