This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

If you are planning to go downtown Saturday, parking may be a little tight because the annual Classic Car Show is Saturday downtown. Someone is going to complain there is nowhere to park. Of course there are a number of parking lots you can park in, you know, those places some people say are inconvenient and no one uses – yet when I go downtown they are mostly full.

Mississaga Street from Albert to Front will be closed all day for the show (and evening for the patio program). Peter Street is going to be closed too.

The DOMB is expecting to have more than 350 hundred participants. There will be cars from the 30s to the 90s to see. The awards will happen at 2:30 p.m.

There will also be music to hear. Rob Watts Band, The Bogeys , The Offcuts and The Phoenix Ensemble will be playing at various spots between Albert and Front Street.

Couchiching Craft Brewing is using their parking lot as a beer garden as they have done for other downtown events. Cruisin will be playing the early part of the afternoon and Briar Summers the latter and into the evening.

Starry Night

Starry Night, one of the most popular evening events held in downtown Orillia is happening August 26 starting at 7 p.m.

Participating galleries/venues are: The Shadowbox, Tiffin’s Creative Centre, Peter Street Fine Arts, Hibernation Arts, OMAH, Three Crows Speak Studio, Sanderson Monuments, Apple Annie’s, 125 Breakfast Club, Richard Vandermeer Fine Arts, Emma Vandermeer Studio, Uptown Living (new store, grand opening October 19 at noon), Moose Factory of Orillia (Charles Pachter and Keith Lem), and Flywheel Studio (Will McGarvey).

The long range forecast shows the day is going to be mostly sunny on that date and the days either side, so it could be a mostly Starry Night too. Remember, I’m just the messenger.

OHRA Awards

It’s that time of year again. The annual Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards will be at Creative Nomad Studios on November 22.

There are five categories to send in your nomination.

The Education in the Arts, Culture and Heritage Award is not just for teachers in the school system. There are a lot of people in the area teaching kids and adults how to play instruments and make music. That said, whichever of Laura Lee Matthie and Laura Christie is the teacher responsible for the student Dixieland Jazz Band at Orillia Secondary School did a great job getting those students to put a pretty faithful version of a new Orleans band on the stage. And, who ever is teaching Jack Smith (who is in the Dixieland band, other bands and the 4th Street Jazz Project) to play trumpet would make a fine nominee too.

The Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication Award is for a person or group preserving the old stuff, or for publishing something to remind us of what once was. Every year I sit here at the keyboard, trying to think of anyone who I think I could remind you of who did something significant in this area during the last year and except for the year Creative Nomad opened, I get nothing. Yet, every year there’s a few nominations which cause me to think, “of course, so obvious.”

The Event in the Arts, Culture and Heritage Award. This one really needs no further explanation. This year the Scottish Festival had to move to Tudhope Park and in my opinion it worked better than when it was in Couchiching Beach Park. The parade was shorter, which I’m sure the old guys carrying the bass drums appreciated, but the crowd was denser than being stretched out all along Centennial Drive. The were more vendors and I think just as many people went out to see it as in the past.

The Opera House summer theater program needs to be nominated by someone. They put together two great lineups of plays last year and this; their attendance is growing, and they had a plan 8 years ago to get here and they did it. For more see the story about their success.

Once again I’m going to suggest the Orillia Silver Band deserves to be nominated. Each year, for several running, I have suggested this band, yet no nominations. I don’t get it. They are operating way out of their league. Their season of concerts is a text book example of how to prepare for a show and then pull it off. All our arts groups are doing well providing us with good arts and entertainment, but the OSB is doing so on steroids.

For those same reasons the OSB could also be nominees for the Qennefer Browne Achievement Award. This is kind of an award for ongoing contributions to the community, and the OSB certainly has been doing so for many years.

In this same category, Steve Orr should be nominated. He opens his chequebook to many groups, particularly the Orillia Youth Centre. You can look hard to find anyone else in town who supports arts events more than he does and strike out.

Liz Scott

Liz Scott is not returning as the artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival, but for 7 years she has put together the lineup of artists for all the performances, day and night, and there have been some outstanding years and some out of this universe outstanding years. She also puts together the other concerts Mariposa has in the off season. The last two festivals were sold out. I don’t know how Mariposa replaces her, but the organization makes all the right moves on a number of counts so I’m sure they’ll rebound from this loss.

The remaining category is for Emerging Artists. People who started a career in arts in the last 5 years are eligible for this award. This is good, because I’ve been trying to think of who is new here in the last 12 months and it’s not working. I’m sure somewhere out there is a prodigy getting food on everything but its tongue, but you known what I mean. Because of that window I will suggest Reay should be nominated. Sean Murray wrote some very good music, the band recorded it, the album got great reviews, and they perform an excellent show.

Sam Johnston only got going post COVID and every time I see her perform she’s better. She produced a unique show last spring at Lone Wolf Café which rolled out as a radio program featuring her music and that of women she thought were important to music history.

I don’t think Will Davis and Chris Robinson started performing together until after COVID. This piano/sax duo is so good, so entertaining you hardly notice they don’t have a drummer.

The deadline for nominations is October 20 and you can find the form online. The awards night is November 22, starting at 6 p.m.

The Shorts

Vivianna Zarillo, Alison MacKay and Reid Janisse in the Opera House’s Halfway There
  • The Opera House has Norm Foster’s Half Way There running to Sept 1. The review is in. It’s a good little play, a slice of life and it’s tribulations story you can get a chuckle from. You can get tickets online. Duck Soup Productions has Matilda running every Tuesday. It’s for kids and you can get tickets here.
  • The Orillia and District Arts Council and the City of Orillia are teaming up again to present events in neighbourhood parks this summer. The last one of the summer has Jakob Pearce playing music while the kids make art at Lankinwood Park Aug. 30. It’s free.
  • The annual Images Thanksgiving Studio Tour is happening sooner than you think (and I want, it’s a seasonal thing, not the event). Can you believe it? It’s the 40th annual tour. Can you believe it? You can find a map and artist details online.
  • This summer’s Coulson Concerts series held in the old Coulson Church continue with a couple new dates added. Aug. 27 is when Allison Lupton along with fiddle masters Shane Cook and Kyle Waymouth will perform. Sept. 24 Paul Mills and Anne Walker (whose family owns the church) will play. You can get tickets online.
  • The Orillia Museum of Art and History has a walking tour Wednesdays at 7 p.m. called Gangs, Guns and Grog (more next week) and it ends at Couchiching Craft Brewing for a beer, register online; Ted Fullerton’s exhibit The Serpent’s Egg is up until Oct. 7; three other exhibits are up until September – Steeped In History has artifacts for OMAH’s collection which relate to tea and teatime, Homage is jewellery made by Donald Stuart inspired by 40 famous Canadian women, and an exhibit of Elizabeth Wynn Wood’s drawings, sketches and sculptures is in the Carmichael gallery; the monthly History Speaker’s series starts Sept. 20 with Chris Newton talking about 50 years of Mariposa Art Theatre. It’s on Zoom and you can sign up onlineHibernation Arts has guest artist Nicole Rulff’s work on display for the month of August… Cloud Gallery has Cathy Boyd in the gallery Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to  3 p.m. for their Meet the Artist series… St. Paul’s Centre’s Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery can be seen on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon… There will be a Starry Night event downtown Aug. 26 starting at 7 p.m.
  • Glen Robertson has a few new tunes to check out on his Youtube page. He’s one of those musicians doing great things I was referring to above.
  • Mariposa’s third outdoor autumn concert features Aysanabee, Aleksi Campagne, Angelique and My Son The Hurricane. It’s October 14 at ODAS Park and you can get tickets online.
  • Lance Anderson is recreating the 60 in 60 concert he did at last year’s Mariposa Folk Festival on November 18 at the Opera House. It’s been expanded to a 90 minute show and Matt Weidinger, Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline Mike Daley (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Wayne Deadder (guitar and vocals) Russ Boswell (bass) Bucky Berger (drums) will be performing with Lance. You can get those tickets online.
  • The Orillia Jazz Festival has Lance holding down the Saturday night gig at the Opera House with the World Jazz Asylum. It’s also a CD release event and the band includes John Johnson, Quammie Williams, William Sperendei and Simon Wallis – along with dancers from Toronto Metropolitan University’s dance department. You can get tickets online. The Friday night festival gig is with Holly Cole and the Sunday afternoon concert is with Brassworks. Brassworks usually has the jazz bands from the high schools join them. Find those tickets here.
  • The Orillia Youth Centre has a few fundraising concerts happening. The Sadies, the Ronnie Douglas Blues Band and Jerry Leger will be doing the Roots North annual fall concert Sept. 23. Roger Harvey -with Tim Kehoe playing pedal steel – (and Terry Savage and the Big Bad Jug Band have just been added to the lineup) is returning to Orillia for a gig at St. Paul’s Centre September 29 and in Collingwood Sept. 30. Get those tickets here.
  • St. Paul’s Centre has a slate of concerts happening. Reay is opening for The Lowest of the Low Sept. 21; Tommy Youngsteen will be back in town, this time to do Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album on October 13; Matthew Good is in October 19 and Sloan’s Chris Murphy is in Nov. 16. You can find tickets for all those online (Youngsteen tickets here) Tickets for The Orillia Big Band at St. Paul’s September 30 will go on sale soon.
  • The Opera House has a bunch of tribute acts in after the summer theater season is over – and Dwayne Gretzky. They also have the Comic Strippers and Second City doing shows in October. You can get tickets for any of that online.
  •  Quayle’s Brewery has Ron Whitman playing the afternoon Aug. 19 and Kyle Wauchope the evening; Jess Bowman plays Aug. 20; Mark Thackway is in Aug. 24; Jakob Pearce Aug. 25; My Miissing Piece Aug. 26 and Genevieve Cyr Aug. 27… Couchiching Craft Brewing has Jamie Drake playing Aug. 18; it’s Vinyl Night with Wilverine Aug. 24; Joe Garrisi plays Aug. 25; the Ronnie Douglas Band is in Aug. 26; Will Davis and Chris Robinson do Jazz in the afternoon Aug. 27; the Griddle Pickers have a birthday bash for Sean Patrick Sept. 1 with guest Terry Savage (tickets)

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

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