This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

We are on the road to summer and just passed a milepost. This week the Mariposa Folk Festival opened applications for the annual audition showcase.

This year it happens April 28 at St. Paul’s Centre. This year they published comprehensive criteria for applying, but the concert start time is not one of the details. It usually starts at 1 p.m. and lasts all afternoon. Normally it’s free to attend and it lasts several hours so you can come and go. Application deadline is February 28.

Also this week the festival opened up the registrations to volunteer at the summer festival. They usually take on 500 or so volunteers. If you are new to town, this is a great way to meet people.

Lessons Learned

The Orillia and District Arts Council has an art project called A Visual Reconciliation, a travelling exhibit made possible with a grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts. It’s based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings (Seven Grandmother Teachings as ODAC originally billed it, and are also known as the Ojibwe Teachings and the Seven Sacred Teachings).

The seven teachings form the basis of seven different exhibits. Bravery (Aakwa’ode’ewin) already took place at Creative Nomad in November. The second, Honesty (Gwekwaadziwin), happened Wednesday at Georgian College. Each features a piece of work created by Julie Tian, Ted Fullerton, Xavier Fernandes and Dazaunggee (Paul Shilling).

Julie Tian

Tian’s painting is a scene of her as a little girl with an amalgamation of background scenery from her home town in China.

“The (scenery) pieces are slightly different. It’s altered intentionally to show how memory is often unreliable for truth,” she said.

Ted Fullerton

Fullerton’s featured outstretched hands and an image of Pinocchio with a more than foot-long nose and his hands thrown up in a ‘who me?’ gesture. The duality motif extended to the colours on a white background; red, symbolic of love and warning; Green for new beginnings and envy; Yellow for knowledge and cowardice.

“The two hands are open handed, this is open and honest engagement with each there. Yet, the hands below are being thrown up in a way (of) a little white lie,” Fullerton said.

Xavier’s photo is of pieces of different types wood, one of which is ebony and not at once very noticeable. They represent people.

“The honesty is me being who I am, which then in turn people will see that if you are true to yourself. You could be in a crowded room and be all alone,” Xavier said.

“I am the ebony in the background. Sometimes you get covered up by other people, you get pushed out of the way. Or sometimes people are just in front of you, not pushing you out of the way, they are just there. The placement was because a lot of times what’s in front of you is what you notice first. And sometimes if you are different you do get set aside, not necessarily pushed to the back, but everyone else steps forward.”

Dazaunggee’s painting shows two Native children in the top half and two child angels below behind a cross. It questions the honesty of what we are told and believe about ourselves. During his presentation he said, “Sometimes honesty has nothing to do with truth.” Which meant one can honestly believe something that is not true.

Later he explained, ““They said, “you are ugly” and I believed that. That’s not true. I’m not all these things people say I am,” he said.  This extends to the fallibility of what others and people representing institutions believe and how one internalizes what they say or do.

“My brother went to a residential school and I asked him to come to the circles as a solution to his problems. He said, “Why? I accepted heaven,” and pointed to the lodge and said, “that’s evil,””

The third exhibit, Humility (Dbaadendiziwin), is March 18 at the McLaren Art Centre in Barrie at 1:30 p.m. After that Midland and Aurora will host exhibits, before it comes back to Creative Nomad Studios July 15. ODAC is negotiating with Martin Luther University College (Wilfred Laurier) to move the whole exhibit there in the fall.

Other Art Stuff

OMAH’s Thursday night Music and Mocktails returns January 26. It’s free, there’s munchies, music non-alcoholic drinks and art. It’s from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sydney Riley plays the music.

OMAH also has Amanta Scott’s exhibit, Eyeing Medusa, up January. 21; January 28 two exhibits, Great Tait: The True Story of Orillia’s First Millionaire and Burner Herzog by husband and wife team of Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward (who had Project Voyager – an artistic documentation of Champlain’s travels – at OMAH in the fall of 2019) will be up; another husband and wife team, David Alan Hill and Christine Mack, have a photographic exhibit called Beyond the Fence up February 4.

Sunny-Morning By Kate Taylor

Creative Nomad Studios has a few programs starting in January, among them are two Creative Kids Clubs (different age groups) and a Monday evening small dog social program; get details and registration info online. Creative Nomad is having a spring market in May. Artisans can apply to participate online. Cloud Gallery is going to have a series of Meet The Artist events in 2023. The first is January 21 and you can meet Kate Taylor from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be new works by Taylor to see. Hibernation Arts guest artist for February is Bob Broom (but it opens Jan. 21 from noon to 3 p.m.). Peter Street Fine Arts still has their holiday season 6×6 show up to the end of January.  

The Shorts

  • Creative Nomad Studios becomes a Den of Hilarities Jan. 20 for a comedy show. Promoted by Matt Lund, it features Nigel Grinstead (Just For Laughs, CBC comedy, writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Daniel Shaw (from Collingwood, also a video editor (Late Show With Stephen Colbert)), Jeff Faulkner (from Barrie) and Marc Trinidad (first Canadian on BET’s Comic View, Comedy Network). Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $30 online, or $35 at the door.
  • I can think of a few musicians and bands which might use this info. The Stockey Centre in Parry Sound has a summer performance series called Bands at the Bay, and they are looking for performers. You can apply online and I know a few bands from here over the years have performed at this paying gig.
  • Arts Orillia has two dance events happening soon. Dancer/choreographers BoucharDanse performs Tres Loin Jan. 26 at the Opera House. On Feb. 4 at Creative Nomad, they have the dance film Reduced by Aliyah Beckles-Gaines who will be on hand to talk about the film and read from her book, We Are Here: Stories From Southern Georgian Bay BIPOC Women. You can find tickets for all three online.
Landom Ensemble
  • The Orillia Concert Association series returns Jan. 29 with the Landom Ensemble in concert at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 2:30 p.m. It is unusual quartet with instrumentation of piano, cello, accordion and percussion. They cover music by Bach, Argentinean music and rock. You can get tickets for this concert ($40 each) online, or call the Opera House box office, 705-326-8011 and get the season ticket for $90; there are three more concerts in the series, so you’ll pay about half to go to all four of them.
  • The Mariposa Folk Festival’s February Blues happens Feb. 4 at the Opera House. Lance Anderson is once again the bandleader and with him will be Matt Weidinger, Bobby Dean Blackburn, Verese Vassel-Brown, Thomas Nelson and Mike Sloski. You can get tickets (better hurry, it sells out every time) online.
  • Arts Orillia just announced a residency program which will take place at the Opera House Nov 12 to 17. The Re:Research and Design program is for movement (dance) arts and applications are open to self-identifying emerging independent artists or collectives with a movement-based practice and should identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Colour inclusive of those identifying as 2SLGBTQ+. Successful applicants will be mentored in sound, costume, lighting, projection and set design. Online applications are open to individual artists or collectives based in Ontario. 
  • Roots North has a second artist booked for April’s festival. Kellie Loder joins Juno Award winning Michael Kaeshammer on the menu. You can get festival passes now online.
  • Alex Rabbitson is having a birthday and a party at the Hog N’ Penny Jan. 21; playing the tunes is the Big Bad Jug Band (Sean Patrick, Jessica Martin, Alex and Jim Fitzgerald), Nick McFarland is playing too; there is no cover; but you need to register online…  Couchiching Craft Brewing has Steven Henry, Joe Huron and Ian Ross play Jan. 20; Chris Lemay is in Jan. 21; Sunday Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. Ronnie Douglas will be in to play some blues and speak about the songwriters and composers; Jan 27 Paige Rutledge is in;  Reay is playing a fundraiser for the Sharing Place Food Bank Jan. 28 and tickets are $15… Quayle’s Brewery has Ron Whitman playing Jan. 20; My Missing Piece is in Jan. 21;  Cam Galloway plays Jan. 27…  St. Paul’s Centre has a pub night with Alex (the band) Jan. 20 at 6 p.m.; there is a $10 cover and a silent auction (feature item – art by Mike Bailey)… The Mudmen play the Opera House Jan. 27 (tickets).

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

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