Entertainment Local

Excitement building around Geneva

By John Swartz

Donald Porter, left, and John Norwood flank Marilyn Monroe's likeness at the Geneva Theatre, which was recently purchased by Porter.

PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES Donald Porter, left, and John Norwood flank Marilyn Monroe's likeness at the Geneva Theatre, which was recently purchased by Porter.

Saturday night headliners SNFU (from Vancouver) along with Spree Killers, the Groggies, Gaswitch, and Gag Order have a concert at the Geneva Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

There have been a few gigs there since Donald Porter took over the place.

Of those shows, it was clear the re-opening of the theater was a work in progress. Most obvious was the lack of heft for the sound system.

In light of the scope of the concert ahead I thought it would be good to pop in to see how things are progressing with the venue.

It was a mess, but a good one. There were new tables stacked along the wall, there's a new bar, kitchen, lobby, washrooms and paint. Most importantly, there were boxes of new sound gear including a mixing board, speakers and one of three bass bins. Maybe even more importantly, there was someone overseeing the installation that I consider to be good at what he does.

Don gave me a tour, pointing out that the tiles in the washrooms were exactly like the original tiles, his coat check - which everyone entering will have to use, no coats in the house - and the shiny new kitchen facilities.

He mentioned he has his liquor license and that he has been in discussions with Second City about bringing some shows to town.

Without hearing a sound yet, I have to say it looks impressive, what he's done with the place.

The next big thing happening at the Geneva (that's booked) is a fundraiser for the Orillia Youth Center on Oct. 21. It's called Roots North Revisited. The lineup is not set yet, so watch here for it.

  • Doors Open happens next weekend; wait, It's Culture Days; wait, it's two events rolled into one.

Of the events, the Orillia Museum of Art and History's Jail and Bail, originally planned for Friday Sept. 30, has been postponed until sometime next year. The folks at the museum stretched themselves a little thin with the opening of the annual Carmichael Landscape Show and the Jazz Impressions show on Sept. 29.

Everything else on the schedule for Friday is of the Doors Open variety. Visit the OPP Museum, St. Andrew's/St. James' Cemetery, The Leacock Museum, Lakehead University, and Manticore Books for insight into things you didn't know and historical background.

On Saturday, the Orillia Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Orillia Wind Ensemble, The Cellar Singers, The Orillia Vocal Ensemble and the Orillia Silver Band are all performing in the morning (different venues, check the schedule at orillia.ca) and some of them will actually let you stand in front, wave your arms around while the musicians are playing, and get a sense of how frustratingly unimportant conductor's jobs are.

Patti Agapi, Paul Baxter, Xavier Fernandes, Tyler Knight, Marg Gurr, Harold + Ferne: The Local Goods Co. and Brian Tosh are among those doing workshops or giving demonstrations of their craft. There are a ton of other people and groups doing participatory types of things from Tai Chi to playing ukuleles.

Of special note, an anthology is being launched Saturday at St. Paul's Centre. Dozens of people have contributed stories and art to Mariposa Exposed. It's a celebration of Orillia for its 150th birthday next year. Many of the authors and artists will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to read and sign your copy.

There is a guide available at various places, the City Hall lobby being one, or as I said, go online for it.

  • St. Paul's Centre is showing off their renovation project Sunday. It starts with the church service at 10:30 a.m. in the new sanctuary.

All summer they have been transforming the church into a place that will also serve as a venue for concerts, plays and anything else that pops up. It will seat 400. There is new paint, floors, lights and a stage that is more suitable to hosting groups like The Cellar Singers, The Orillia Wind Ensemble and many others.

The stage stretches almost all the way across the front of the sanctuary now and is wired with 40 microphone inputs. They have proper lighting for the stage and the seating is moveable depending on whether you are there for a Sunday morning, or a Saturday night.

The grand opening is Sept. 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. with a reception for the folks who donated to the project. The Orillia Vocal Ensemble chamber choir and the St. Paul's choir will perform.

  • Here's one that almost slipped notice on my part: The Orillia Big Brothers Big Sisters has a fundraiser of a different type happening Oct. 1. It's the Mancave Tour. Tickets to take part are $150 and you can register at mancavetour.ca.

It's like a garden or home tour as we seen in the past, except I'm pretty sure your wife/partner will want to take a pass on this. There are six "venues' on the tour (by bus, so no driving). They have brewery sponsors; this is important. All the venues are on a need-to-know basis and the last stop is super secret, where I understand they apparently have found a few decks of cards.

Rants! Raves!! Info? Write John at watchthisproductions@encode.com.


Swartz's Shorts

  • Last week I mentioned that OMAH has an exhibit called Jazz Impressions (art by Susan McTavish, Lois Green, Douglas Wilson, Jessalyn Forsythe, Bob Fortier, Juliana Hawke, and Xavier Fernandes) that will be up Sept. 29 with a reception Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. What I left out is that OMAH's artist in residence, Jim Ireland is the ringleader of this exhibit. The Will Davis Trio will be at the reception to play jazz, I hope.
  • St. Andrew's Presbyterian is celebrating being in possession of the third largest organ in Canada on Sunday. The 95th anniversary starts with a special service in the morning and a concert at 2 p.m. The Orillia Silver Band is performing at both.
  • Peter Street Fine Arts has a show with guest artist Robyn Rennie called Seeing Beyond Sight. Lee Contemporary Art has a show of sculptures by Michael Drolet. The Bayshore Village has their annual creative arts show happening Oct. 1 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and 2 (noon to 4 p.m.). See works by Doug Cooper, Lia de Roeper, Jacquie Ivory, Eva Marie-Stoch, Lynda Bertrand, Dawn Smith, Paul Thomas, Maria Saringer, Jane Davies, Cathy Rogers, Carol Parrott, Jacquie Ivory, Brian Hutchinson and Patricia Beecham.
  • You have an opportunity to tell the provincial government a thing or two about what should become of the Huronia Regional Centre. Of course, if you support the Huronia Cultural Campus Foundation's plan, get cracking. If you do not, well, get cracking. Do the survey here: https://www.ontario.ca/form/huronia-regional-campus-survey by Sept. 30.
  • Coming up...Heart of Gold: A Tribute to Neil Young happens at the Opera House Sept. 24. The Brownstone has The Drunk Poet's Society tonight (yes, it's poetry); Shy Harry is in Saturday; the Old Dance Hall Players monthly improv night is moving to the last Wednesday every month - which means next Wednesday - at 7 p.m. Alex is at the Farmers' Market Saturday; Jeremiah Hill is at the Fairgrounds Farmers' Market. Steph Dunn is at Era 67 Thursday, Andrew Woodill is in Saturday. Mariposa Arts Theatre movie night at the Galaxy has Dheepan Oct. 5. The Coldwater Fall Fair is this weekend. Even Steven plays at Lake Country Grill Saturday night.

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