Tag Archives: london ontario

London Fringe – REVIEWS!

I’ve been out to see and review a few shows on behalf of Theatre in London, and here is what I have to say about each. I hope you are enjoying the Fringe so far. What have you seen, and do you agree or disagree with my reviews?

Don’t forget, you can find my reviews and more on the London Fringe website. I will be reviewing more throughout the week, so be sure to check back soon.

Desperate Church Wives

A full house and a standing ovation were both well deserved for this incredibly well written and performed show. Diane L. Johnstone is brilliant as she brings six different characters to life in just 55 minutes. Her character transitions are seamless and the audience responds to each character as if they are really sitting in a church meeting by singing, clapping and bowing their heads in prayer. It was almost a spiritual experience for me and the message was powerful: We all deserve unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and freedom from judgment. See this show. Its brilliance in writing and acting is unparalleled.

TIP: if you sit near the front, you just might get a cookie from Grandma Word. But I guarantee you, that isn’t all you will get from her. Enjoy!

Grade 8

I have just one complaint about this show: there were not enough bodies in the seats on its opening night. This is a show that deserves to have a packed house and if you miss it, you really are missing out.

I don’t think I have seen such a sincere and moving show in all of my Fringe experience. Perhaps I find it relatable as the mom of a 12 year old girl, but even in the absence of being able to relate I would have been moved by the raw honesty of the subject, which is a simple story that describes the emotions of love and loss, and how our fears are rooted in love.

Dwayne Morgan is an extremely talented spoken word artist and his timing and delivery of Grade 8 was impeccable. I really hope this show gets the audience it deserves this week at Fringe. Bravo!


“How did it get there?” If you’ve ever attended to the bathroom needs of a child or adult you will know that question well. Dan Ebbs successfully puts that question into a song as he recounts his time caring for his elderly parents who have Alzheimer’s.

“Care” is a little bit like a lecture or information session done in musical form which keeps it light, interesting and informative at the same time. With hilarious audience participation he demonstrates how difficult it is for a healthy mind to remember simple things: so just imagine what it is like for a mind with dementia.

Half of the proceeds of this show go to local care organizations, so seeing “Care” will make you feel doubly good. You will gain an understanding of the unsung heroes known as caregivers, and be supporting agencies at the same time. Well worth the price of admission, I’d say.

The Chronic Singles Handbook

The Chronic Singles Handbook feels like a small snapshot of a much bigger picture. A snippet into the many (mis)adventures of a chronic single. It is a funny (though at times uncomfortable) and raw piece of prose that definitely isn’t PG or politically correct, but it is certainly fun to watch. The way Randy Ross embodies his character through gestures and transitions around the stage makes him entertaining and endearing. The moral of his story came across as this: when you shake a tree you just might find nuts. It seems Randy shook the tree and found more than his share of nuts, but perhaps in the end it was his own shell he needed to crack. The Chronic Singles Handbook is a charming show that kept the crowd laughing, and is worth seeing no matter where you fall: chronically single or happily married.


London Fringe Festival 2015 – Show Recommendations

For the first time in its 16 year history, London Fringe Festival is coming to the Old East Village and is already off to a fantastic start! There wasn’t an empty seat in the house at the Palace Theatre for the Performer Showcase last night as the artists took to the stage to promote their shows in three minutes or less. If the reactions of the house say anything, this is going to be a FANTASTIC Fringe!

Whether you are a first time festival goer or a seasoned pro, you will find this year’s Fringe promises something for everyone. From explicit comedy to family friendly fun, Fringe is spread across seven venues including three in the Old East Village: The Main Stage and Procunier Hall at the Palace Theatre, and the newly acquired space called “The Bank” at 762 Dundas Street.

Based on tonight’s showcase and performances I’ve been lucky to review in the past, I’d like to give you a few early recommendations on shows I feel you might not want to miss. I will be posting reviews with Theatre In London over the opening weekend, so check back for more recommendations later!

Family Friendly Fringe

AbraKIDAbra – The Bank
– Peter Mennie presents a comedy magic show that is fun for all ages. You can’t go wrong at $8 per ticket!
Only 3 shows: June 6, 7 and 13th.

Caws & Effect – McManus Studio
– Described as large scale shadow theatre from a bird’s eye view. The three minutes we saw at the preview were highly intriguing!
June 3, 6, 7, 9, 12 and 13th. – $12

Holka Polka – Palace Theatre Main Stage
– From the Palace Theatre’s very own LYTE program comes this delightful tale about a good little witch. It’s always a great show when it’s put on by Theatre LYTE.
June 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13th – $10.

James & Jamesy in the Dark – McManus Studio
– Okay, based on past performances I find they aren’t quite my cup of tea but the kids (and the crowd!) go wild for them. Highly silly humour that drives the kids wild! $12 per ticket.
June 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11th.

Dance Adventures – Palace Theatre Main Stage
– I love dance, so this one was a given for me to add. This is an energetic and entertaining group of young dancers from London that you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $10 and they perform June 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13th.

Adult Fringe

Some of these aren’t strictly adult, but most would be suitable for older children/teens. Check the Fringe program for more details on content that may be questionable in each show.

God is a Scottish Drag Queen II – Palace Theatre Main Stage
– I was fortunate to review the first installment of this at last year’s Fringe festival. Not only did I bust a gut, I bust a move with God! Be careful raising your hand at a comedy show….
June 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. – $12

Die Roten Punkte: Best Band in the World – Palace Theatre Main Stage
– They had me busting a gut in just 3 minutes. I can’t wait to see what they do with an hour!
June 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 – $12

Grade 8 – The Bank
– Raw and heartfelt stories told through spoken word and monologues. I highly enjoyed the preview and can’t wait to review this one for you. Stay tuned!
June 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. – $10

Underneath the Lintel – Spriet Family Theatre
– I reviewed this show in 2012 and loved it. Can’t wait to see it again this week! Don’t tell Patrick O’Brien, but I think I’ve got a strange little crush on his character. You’re going to love this one. (You’re welcome!)
June 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13. $12.

Lest We Regret – The Arts Project
– I’m choosing this one for several reasons. 1) The subject is compelling. 2) The preview was fantastic. 3) I’ve worked with Tim Bourgard and Tim Condon and I adore them. and 4) The woman in the show walks her dog past my home. Keepin’ it OEV!
June 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13. – $12.

Northern Daughter – McManus Studio
– Keeping it with OEV, you must, must, must see our very own Donna Creighton’s presentation of Northern Daughter. Compelling, funny and absolutely gritty, you will run the gambit of emotions with this one I think. Enjoy!
June 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13. – $12

I could go on, I’m sure, but there is a start for you. Come back and let me know what shows you check out and what you think of them.

Don’t forget about the Old East Village Street Festival and Sidewalk Sales on June 6th between Dundas and Rectory Streets, and the Dundas Street Festival on June 13th followed by Nuit Blanche! Happy Fringing, everybody!

What’s Happening?? OEV Listings to June, 2015

Get out and support the arts and entertainment scene in this incredible neighbourhood. There is so much good in this ‘hood!

If you have an event in the OEV that you don’t see listed here or an update for one of the events below, get it promoted by sending an email to alicesdiner@gmail.com.


April 25th – Shakuntala – Palace Theatre, Main Stage
A dance drama based on the Indian epic, Mahabharta.

April 30th – May 9th  – One Actmanship – Procunier Hall, Palace Theatre
One Actmanship is comprised of two Foster One Acts: My Narrator and The Death of Me. Laughs abound as Foster pokes fun at human foibles.

May 22nd – 30th – Talley’s Folly – Palace Theatre, Main Stage
“A Victorian Folly becomes the setting for, what many call, the most beautiful love story seen on stage. Filled with comedy and wonderful dialogue, this Pulitzer Prize winning play is set during one of the most delicate times in American History; this is a production you will never forget.”



Musician Mondays – Open mic every Monday night at the St. Regis Tavern

Wednesdays at the  St. Regis Tavern, EV’s Thick Fat Sound Choir – Bar Choir meeting  $5

Saturdays, 11am – 2pm, live music at the Artisan Bakery, 864 Dundas Street.

Sundays, 11am -2pm, live music at The Starving Artist Cafe, Dundas at Elizabeth St.


18 – El Sistema Aeolian – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
19 – CCH Has Got Talent – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
20 – Genticorum – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
21 – Pyscho Daisies – Musical Chairs, 9pm, St. Regis Tavern
21 – Marty Kolls and Fraser Teeple – The Root Cellar Organic Cafe
22 – Remembering Stan Rogers – 6:30 pm, Aeolian Hall
23 – London Food Co-Op Sustainable Food Systems speaker series – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
26 – Hot Music for a Cold Night – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
27 – Heartaches Country String Band – 8pm, St. Regis Tavern
28 – Outcasts – 3pm – 7pm, St. Regis Tavern
28 – Sunfest performer to be announced ** – 7pm, Aeolian Hall


1 – London Concert Band – 2pm, Aeolian Hall
5 – Amelia Curran – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
8 – Alison & Laura – 12:30pm, Aeolian Hall
10 – The Kruger Brothers – 8pm, Aeolian Hall
12 – Marc Jordan Trio – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
14 – Aviva Chernick – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
19 – Valdy, 8pm, Aeolian Hall
20 – Andre Laplante, 8pm, Aeolian Hall
22 – Sara Davis Buechner – 7:30pm, Aeolian Hall
27 – Heartaches Country String Band – 8pm. St. Regis Tavern
28 – Outcasts – 3-7pm, St. Regis Tavern
28 – Tal National – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
28 – Spring Concert of Piano Concertos, 12:00pm,  Aeolian Hall
29 – Harry Manx – 6:30pm, Aeolian Hall


15 – Great Lake Swimmers, 8pm, Aeolian Hall
16 – Great Lake Swimmers, 8pm, Aeolian Hall
17 – Sylvia Tyson – 8pm, Aeolian Hall
19 – Men At Words – 7:30pm, Aeolian Hall
24 – Pierre Bensusan – 8pm, Aeolian Hall
25 – Laila Biali & The Radiance Project – 7pm, Aeolian Hall


1 – Lemon Bucket Orkestra – 7pm, Aeolian Hall
6 – Buffy Sainte-Marie – 8pm, Aeolian Hall
8 – Manteca – 8pm, Aeolian Hall
23 – Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, 8pm, Aeolian Hall

6 – Peter Katz – 8pm, Aeolian Hall

Events For Music Makers

  • Ruby Tuesday – “Song swap, drop-in for hummer, strummers, listeners.” 7-9:30 pm Tuesdays at Life*Spin.
  • Ukulettes – “Music that makes you smile 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  February 6th, Life*Spin
  • Musician Mondays – Mondays at 7pm, St. Regis Tavern
  • Roots & Soul Sundays at the Reeg – Sundays at 4pm, St. Regis Tavern
  • Bi-weekly open mic night at the Root Cellar starting September 11th, 9pm to midnight. All singers, musicians, poets, storytellers, performers welcome–sign up when you arrive.
  • SOUP – Southern Ontario Ukulele Players – 7:15 pm – 9pm at Aeolian Hall. $5
  • Community Jam – Wednesdays, East Village Coffeehouse. Contact the Coffeehouse to get on the performers list.
  • Starting Friday January 23rd – 7-9pm, EVAC Friday Night Music Jam Circles; jam circles at EVAC every other Friday evening. (They are looking for a ringleader to lead the circle this night.)
  • Open Mic Jam Night – Every Thursday, The Town & Country Saloon. 9 pm – 1:30 am Bring your instrument or your voice. Karaoke singing available. Everyone is welcome.



  • February 12th and April 8thIgnite London – The Aeolian’s Ignite London is a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea – and the guts to get on stage and share it. Run by local volunteers, Ignite London is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in our city. Ignite is a style of presentation where participants are given five minutes to speak on a subject accompanied by 20 slides.
  • Beginning Friday January 30th 6-7:30pm – EVAC Lecture Series: Jane Jacobs & Urban Design. This is a five-part lecture series on urban design, focusing on the works of Jane Jacobs. The talks will be:
    Friday, January 30th: Streets
    Friday, February 6th: Neighbourhoods
    Friday, February13th: Preconditions for urban diversity
    Friday, February 20th: Landmarks & historic buildings
    Friday, February 27th: How cities change

The talks will be presented by Benjamin A. Vazquez, U.E. Cost will be $10 for EVAC members, $20 for non-members for all five talks. PWYC if need be. The proceeds will go directly to support EVAC.

  • January 25 – March 9th – The Aeolian Winter Art Exhibit – Open to the public from 10am – 3pm weekdays. Featuring the art of Wendy Reid and Don Earle with guest artists, Dawn Johnson and Tracy Root.
  • March 11th, Hopping Into History Art Show Opening Reception. 6:30 pm, Aeolian Hall.
    Hopping Into History, London’s Old East Village art show opening reception and book launch will be held Wednesday, March 11, 2015. We are pleased to welcome the artist Cheryl Radford and the author Kym Wolfe to our newest exhibition. The opening reception will be held between 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at The Aeolian Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event, light snacks and refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be open. The book will be a selective glimpse into the history of Old East Village, from the Dundas Street commercial corridor and Heritage Conservation District to the factory district. It includes interesting facts/trivia about the area and a bit about the current culture, accompanied by Radford’s ink and watercolour illustrations.
  • April 17th – 19th – 2015 London Artists’ Studio Tour – Various locations around London. OEV locations include: Metal In Fusion, 630 1/2 Lorne Ave; Amanda Rowe, 630 1/2 Lorne Ave; Jayne Cornelis, 630 1/2 Lorne Ave; Chris Snedded, London Clay Art Centre, 664 Dundas St.

Artist Feature: Richard Sturgeon, Metal in Fusion

Out of an Autumn Fog
Out of an Autumn Fog

If you visit an historical site that offers live demonstrations, you will almost always notice the largest throng of spectators is around the blacksmith. Perhaps it’s the rhythmic, chiming sound of a hammer on metal that draws people in, or the warm colours of molten metal when it is being heated and forged. Who knows how the smith captivates the crowd, but that same fascination exists when you walk into a metal forger’s workshop.

to catch a fly… – 2013
19″w x 11″d x 14″h

Most of us can only be so lucky as to do something we truly love and make a living at it. Richard Sturgeon is one of those people. All it took to find his dream job ten years ago was getting laid off from his day job, fixing scratched CD’s for a local business. Finding himself suddenly unemployed afforded Richard the opportunity to take workshops on self-employment, and thus began his venture into the world of art and more specifically, metal sculpture.

A former resident of the Old East Village, Richard maintains his studio, Metal in Fusion, in a building tucked in the back lot of a residence at 630 ½ Lorne Ave. He has recently taken on an extra space which is being renovated into a permanent gallery to showcase his and the crations of other OEV artists, which he expects to have opened by early spring 2014.

‘an impending gasp for air’
7″ x 7″ x 14″

Walking into Richard’s studio could possibly help a person understand what it feels like to have ADHD. Shiny, pretty things abound and it’s near impossible to stay focused on one piece of art as the glint of metal from another catches your eye. Blending elements of wood and stone with sculpted metal, Richard’s art presents a unique fusion of natural and urban environments.

‘pulling forward…’
17.5″ x 5″ x 3″

You can examine a piece and draw some sort of conclusion or interpretation of what you are seeing in it, until Richard gives it a name and tells the story of its inspiration.

‘gimme back my ring!’
18″ x 18″ x 8″”

For example, when I looked at “Gimme back my ring”, I saw a snagged kite flying off a branch at the top of a tree. Richard tells me it was inspired by the Tim Burton movie Big Fish, and the fish they called “The Beast” that stole the narrator’s wedding ring after he used it as bait. Aha! I looked at the piece again and saw a big fish, a fishing line and what looked like a heart at the end, perhaps representing the storyteller’s wedding ring.

‘the old guy’ – 2013
48″ x 16 ” x 12″

“The Old Guy”, which I thought resembled a crane-like bird, was inspired by a Paul Quarrington novel, Fishing With My Old Guy.  Aha, again! I suddenly saw a tangle of lines, or maybe a big fishing net and the bent spine of an old fisherman tangled up in it all. And that right there is the beauty of art: No matter the title, perception or inspiration, it is always up for interpretation.

Georgian Winds Tree

Attracting a national and international audience, Richard’s art work can be found locally from London to Toronto and Tobermory, and as far away as Chicago. While browsing the Metal in Fusion Facebook page I was amazed to read that one of his Georgian Tree pieces made its way to a new home in Holland, the new owners purchasing it as a reminder of their holidays in the Georgian Bay area, and the beauty they saw in Canada. They mentioned in their post what I too recognized in the beautifully sculpted tree: an apparent (if not unwitting) hat tip to the incredible art of the Group of Seven.

Richard’s art has also found a place in the community. When you pass the Unity Project in Old East London, take a look at the new fence installed around the front of the property. That fence was designed and forged by Richard.

pillarIt can also be found in the hands of recipients of Pillar Community Innovation Awards which celebrates nonprofits and charities and the individuals who work with them to make the community better and brighter.

battleofthebladesAnd just last fall, Richard was commissioned to make gorgeous stainless steel replicas of the trophy awarded on the CBC television show Battle of the Blades, which were presented to the top fundraisers from the show, Scott Thornton and Amanda Evora.

If you would like to own your own original piece, Richard’s art can be found in London at Gift of Art,  575 Richmond Street, or at his studio 630 ½ Lorne Ave by appointment or commission. In Tobermory look for his metal sculptures at Circle Arts, or in Toronto at the Petroff Gallery. He will also be taking part in the London Artist Studio Tour for the 5th time, from May 2-4, 2014.






Cover photo of Richard Sturgeon © RS Cousins Photography https://www.facebook.com/rscousinsphotography

From the Gardeners: Native vs Non-Native Plants

Native Plants vs Non-Native Plants, What’s the Deal?

There has been a recent trend to choose native varieties of plants – especially flowers to use in the garden vs. exotic imports with showy blooms. But is there room for both native and non-native? What would our landscapes look like if we went out today and ripped out all of the ‘non-natives’? How do we even classify native plants if the first European settlers brought seeds for grain and medicine (mixed with weed seeds) with them on their travels? What if a plant is classified as ‘native to Canada’? There are several different ecosystems and micro-climates throughout this vast country, how useful is that label? If you are new to the topic and think what’s the big idea? Then let me explain…


– One (of several) definition of a native plant is: a species that occurs naturally in a particular geographic area

-Native varieties are great because they support the ecosystems flora and fauna – the birds and the bees.

– They have adapted to the regions climate, geography and average rain fall amounts. They can be labelled as low maintenance because of those factors.

But the most import factor for a plant to thrive is to provide it the right site conditions; including the right amount of sunlight, temperature and water requirements. Just because the Trillium is native to Ontario doesn’t mean it will be healthy in a suburban flower bed. Trilliums are found in densely shaded forest conditions, with deep humus layers that are covered in fallen leaves providing a very moist and rich environment. If the trillium is planted in full sun, in a barren flower bed, probably having no leaf layer, chances are it will not thrive and be ‘a low maintenance native plant’.

Importing plants from foreign countries does pose some great ecological risks. Like the Emerald Ash Borer; a native pest to China and Eastern Asia is believed to have killed over a million trees since its discovery here in Eastern North America in 2002. (inspection.gc.ca) This is just one incident of an exotic pest wreaking havoc on native species. In 2013 CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) issued a threat to trees from the Asian Long-Horned Beetle in the Greater Toronto and Mississauga regions.

If everyone went out tomorrow and removed all plants not classified as native the insects and animals that have adapted to them would suffer.

And how good are those native plants that are purchased at the big box stores anyway? Most of them have been treated with neonicotinoids – a synthetic chemical insecticide – that is causing colony collapse in bees. The same bees that are responsible for 85% of the world’s flowering plant reproduction.

So what can we plant? With so many factors it can be overwhelming.

-Purchase plants from your trusted neighbourhood plant sale.

-Swap plants with your neighbouring garden guru.

-You could even save seeds and start your own. The library has a ton of resources on just that.

– Ask your favourite Garden Center if they use seed treatments or insecticides. Here is one that doesn’t.

– Check out the Mantis Arts and Eco Festival for some expert advice.

-Attend a ‘Bee the Change’ workshop this summer; hosted by Food Not Lawns London On

– find out more about native plants at Evergreen and the Carolinian Canada Coalition


Written by: Carina Moyer