This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

It’s Canada Day on Monday. Despite the doom and gloom our national media keeps conjuring, and what our southern neighbours say, this is the best place in the world to live.

Just look at the photos, any of them, from anywhere. You can’t buy that kind of scenery.

OK, things aren’t perfect. But they never will be; too many moving parts. If anything is wrong, it’s our own fault. We have been lax at holding those we select to lead us accountable. We have looked the other way instead of demanding to be treated fairly by those with the power of the chequebook to buy their comfort and avarice.

We wouldn’t let anyone kick us in the butt during World Wars One and Two, but seem to think we can’t do anything about greed at the checkout counter and sloppy policy by our governments.

So while you are celebrating, maybe this would be a good time to resolve to be better Canadians and take some action on just one issue. We are all going to choose different things to focus on, but there’s enough of us to cover all the bases.

Earlier this week a rundown on Canada Day at Couchiching Beach Park was in this space. You can see it here.

The Last Day Of My Summer Vacation At Home

Donovan Woods kicks off the final day of the Mariposa Folk Festival on Sunday evening. He’s the third great thing Sarnia has produced, after the guys from Max Webster and me. He’s got Juno nominations and awards, as well as Canadian Country Music Award nominations, plus he’s written several songs recorded by other artists and used in television programs and movies.

James Gray is staying over from his Friday gig at Quayles to play at the festival, including a tweener set after Woods’s.

Bruce Cockburn is up next, and if I have to say more than after his set he’s being inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame, then I don’t know what to say.

There isn’t a tweener scheduled so Joseph will follow the Hall of Fame thing. Now, for uninitiated this is not a Sting, or Bono character. It’s Natalie Closner and the Meegan Closner and Allison Closner. They’re from Portland, Oregon and got their name after a camping trip in Joseph, Oregon.

The next tweener is Ellen Froese, whose latest album, For Each Flower Growing, is based on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series.

The Old Crow Medicine Show is next. They’ve got Grammy’s, they toured with John Prine and Willie Nelson, and they play old time Appalachian music – fused with a punk sensibility.

Next up is a tweener with Kim Churchill. He recorded each of his 4 EPs in different places using local musicians; Berlin, Vancouver, The Blue Mountains of Australia and Devon, The UK.

The end of the road is going to be messy. Not in a disaster kind of way, but things are going to blow up when Dwayne Gretzky takes the stage. This is likely the most popular cover band in the world. They played at the Opera House last October and I said of all the concerts I’ve enjoyed there, “this, this was the king of all of the best and varied experiences that (I) walked out to the parking lot with me.”

There are still a very few tickets left and you can get them online right now

ORAH Awards

The nomination period is now open. You have until October 11 to nominated artists and arts groups for an award.

The awarding will happen on November 27 at Creative Nomad Studios.

There are 5 categories:

  • Education in Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Emerging Artist
  • Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication
  • Event in Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Qennefer Browne Achievement Award

The Quennifer Browne award is kind of a lifetime achievement award in that longstanding contributions to the arts community are considered, rather than just effort since last year. Hopefully someone will nominate Steve Orr for supporting so many concerts.

And, maybe this year someone will nominate the Orillia Silver Band in the event category. Year after year they perform outstanding concerts, but last October’s concert with Kyung-A Lee on piano playing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Piazzolla’s Libertango was by far the best concert put on by any group from Orillia of the last 29 years. The musicianship of both Lee and the band was darn near flawless.

Neil Barlow wrote the band arrangements to accompany Lee, and the OSB’s part of the dance card was a textbook example of how a band of any kind should play music.

You can nominate online here. As usual, I will remind people of what else I think are significant achievements of the last 12 months, but I’m going to spread them out over the summer.

The Shorts

Chuck Swire
  • It is with some sadness I learned of the death of Chuck Swire. He was the bandleader of Rellikdog. I will always remember him as the kind of guy who looked like trouble, but was in fact one of the nicest musicians. There are no visitation or funeral details as yet.
  • The chamber of commerce’s summer music series at the Port of Orillia has the Offcuts playing June 29. They’re still looking to fill a few holes in the schedule so apply online to get to perform your music.
  • The Orillia Youth Centre has Farmfest happening July 1 with the Lonesome Ace Stringband, Zachary Lucky, and Bella Frances playing. It’s in Sebright and tickets are available online.  They also have a bunch of concerts happening, in September with artists like Matchedash Parish, Skye Wallace, Roger Harvey, Zachary Lucky, The Ronnie Douglas Blues Band and many more. See the complete list and get tickets online.
  • If you are near a radio July 1 tune in to the CBC Radio One from noon to 2 p.m. to hear the Gordon Lightfoot Tribute concert that happened at Massey Hall in May.  The musicians participating included the Lightfoot Band, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Blue Rodeo, Allison Russell, Aysanabee, Burton Cummings, Caroline Wiles & Bob Doidge, Meredith Moon, Sylvia Tyson, The Good Brothers, Tom Cochrane, William Prince and many others. You can also see the concert on CBC Gem (sign up), or catch it on CBC Music from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • The Opera House’s summer programming starts July 3 with Norm Foster’s The Long Weekend. This comedy has Kristen Da Silva, Matthew Olver, Stephen Sparks and Viviana Zarrillo in it, with Jesse Collins directing. July 24 Fiona Sauder and Matt Pilipiak are directing Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe’s  Every Brilliant Thing. The summer closes out with another Norm Foster play, Those Movies, which starts August 14. You can get tickets online, and they have discounts.
  • The next Music in the Park concert at the Aqua Theatre is July 7 at 6:30 p.m. with the Baytowne Big Band.

  • Derick Lehmann has another fundraiser happening at ODAS Park July 27. He just distributed 40 bikes to kids in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program from the last fudnraiser and you can read about it here. The proceeds from the Hawaiian Glow Party will go to Green Haven Shelter for Women. You can get tickets online or at Alleycats Music.
  • Bleeker’s new album, Messed Up, was uploaded to Youtube Friday. You can listen to it and watch the video for Let’s Go on Youtube. I’m listening as I type, and the top of the order is comparable to the Blue Jays of 1992 when the first 5 batters were also the 5 best hitters in the league most of the summer. This has been a great year for the band. Let’s Go was heard often as bumper music for Sportsnet’s NHL games.
  • Anne Walker (who will be performing at the MFF in July) has Wendell Ferguson playing July 28; Aug. 25 Anne Walker; and Sept. 29 Blair Packham. You can get tickets online.
Picking Up The Pieces
  • Norman Robert Catchpole’s new piece of about Gordon Lightfoot, Picking Up The Pieces, I told you about last time is hanging at Apple Annie’s… OMAH has a new piece in their permanent collection to see – a portrait of Paul Shilling by Amanta Scott; they have another new piece to see, Origins of The Journals of Susanna Moodie, by Margaret Atwood and Charles Pachter, It’s a copy from a limited edition of their hand-crafted book (i.e. it’s not a normal print edition); OMAH also has the return of their Gangs, Guns and Grog walking tour every Wednesday evening leaving from OMAH and ending at Couchiching Craft Brewing (one drink included). Get tickets online; OMAH has submissions open until August 16 for the 23rd annual Carmichael landscape show in the fall; find the details and application online; the 27th annual International Women’s Day Art Show is in the main gallery; you can also see an exhibit of work from an art program for kids called Regent Park Public School Grade 6/7 Garden Design Program; OMAH also has Backra Bluid an exhibit of works by photographer Stacey Tyrell… St. Paul’s Centre has the Call to Action 83 Art Project in the Ogimaa Miskwaaki Gallery… Hibernation Arts has new art by Margaret Paradis and Mary Lynn Atkinson featured in July and work by new artists at the gallery by Susan Fields and Brooke Lawrence; the ODAC artists wall has new work as well; Hibernation is also has a new show, Oh Canada, … Peter Street Fine Arts has a collection of work by Marcia Godbout featured… ODAC artists have a new show up in the Green Room at the Opera House called Spring AwakeningCloud Gallery still has their My Happy Place show up. Sarah Carlson is in July 6 for the next Meet the Artist Event.
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Mr. B and the Band in June 29; Briar Summers plays June 30; July 1 they have a beer garden with the Off Cuts playing at 1:30 p.m. and Chris Lemay at 7:30; Jack Farrell is in July 5; Samatha Windover plays July 6; July 10 they have a trivia night and the subject is the TV series The OfficeQuayle’s Brewery has Meredith Warboys playing June 27; Chris Lemay June 28; Ron Whitman (early) and Stephen Bernard (later) June 29; Rebekah Hawker (early) and Burke Erwin (later) June 30; Mike Schultz (early) and Can Galloway (later) July 1… The Hog ‘N Penny has an Open Mic Sunday afternoons with Sean Patrick, Michael Martyn John MacDonald, Jessica Martin and whoever else shows up; Sean Patrick plays June 29…  Lake Country Grill has Even Steven playing June 29… Bella Frances is at Picnic June 30.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Orillia Canada Day fireworks 2022

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