Celtic punk band The Real McKenzies threw a belated St. Patrick’s Day party at Ottawa’s SAW Gallery on Friday.
You still have time to catch up on the best films of 2021, and you should start with these.
(Keep in mind, as of this writing I haven’t yet seen Nightmare Alley, The Matrix Resurrections, The Spine of Night, and a number of horror flicks that have been on my list).
I actually only read thirteen or so 2021 releases, so this isn’t the most selective best-of. But all these books were great and you should totally read them.
Some observations: westerns had a moment this year, as did slashers. Body horror is awesome as always, and we saw lots of postmodern and surreal fiction. All good things, as far as I’m concerned.
Check out my list below:
I’m doing a Top 13 instead of a Top 10 this year because I’m edgy and there were too many good albums to choose from. Without further ado:
Dear Rouge played their first live show since the pandemic at the Calgary Stampede on Saturday.
It’s perhaps an understatement that 2020 has not been a great year for anybody.
Thankfully, it’s been a very good year for movies and music (even though performing artists and theatres are struggling to keep their heads above water). Listed below are a number of this past year’s finest films and albums, to keep you occupied until the lockdown ends:
UPDATE: This post was written back in March, when the 2020 JUNOs were facing an uncertain future. I’m happy to report that the Awards will be broadcast on CBC Music at 7 PM EST on June 29th/2020.
Beloved children’s songwriter Fred Penner entertained a crowd of kids (and a handful of nostalgic adults) at Algonquin Commons Theatre Friday night.
Marking the anniversary of his 1980 The Cat Came Back record, the show featured familiar tunes from throughout his career, including a pair of songs from 2017’s Hear The Music as well as music from his TV show Fred Penner’s Place, which ran for 900 episodes on the CBC in the 1980s and 1990s.
Forty years after the release of his debut, Penner’s whimsy and wordplay still charms. Onstage for over an hour, he held the audience’s attention with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a collection of shanties about sandwiches, lonely bumps, rude goblins, and a menagerie of delightful animals. The understated animations that accompanied the music had an earthy, storybook quality, enhancing but not overwhelming the simple songs.
There’s a timeless aspect to Penner’s music, which draws from classic folk and country. Chatting with the crowd between songs, he noted that some of his most well-known covers (such as Wild West ghost story “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” a traditional ditty first recorded in the early 1920s) weren’t originally written for children.
Fittingly, his iconic version of “The Cat Came Back” incorporated a medley of Ray Charles’s R&B standard “Hit the Road, Jack” and The Turtles’s catchy pop hit “Happy Together” – an offering to any audience members who had, like Penner, came of age in the sixties.
(If only The Turtles had written a song about a turtle.)
Part of Penner’s enduring appeal is that he doesn’t talk down to the kids, nor does he ignore the adults. (I laughed when he asked if anyone remembered the original vinyl record of The Cat Came Back – that one definitely went over the heads of the three-year-olds in the room).
It’s a delicate balance being child-friendly without coming off patronizing or overly juvenile; Fred Penner walks that line as well as ever, which is why, after all these years, he’s still capable of delighting kids and parents alike – not to mention the millennials who grew up with Fred Penner’s Place.
Armed with a record’s worth of new material, JUNO-winners The Beaches played a sold-out show at the Bronson Centre Wednesday night.
The Jerry Cans played a packed house at Ottawa’s 27 Club on Monday.
The Nunavut roots rockers started out with a jig led by violinist Gina Burgess, kicking off a night of fun folk-rock that combined East Coast fiddling with Inuktitut-language lyrics and Inuit throat singing.
Kevin Smith brought his Jay and Silent Bob Reboot to Ottawa on Monday.
Iskwē played an electrifying, intimate show at the National Arts Centre last night.