Take it easy this holiday weekend, and Merry Christmas! – Graeme
Take it easy this holiday weekend, and Merry Christmas! – Graeme
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday January 21, 2017
City councillors don’t like the sound of a plan to allow musical entertainment on nightclub patios.
A pilot project was tabled Tuesday by the city’s planning committee that would have allowed bar owners to feature ambient music on patios in seven districts in the city, some golf courses and other locations in rural areas.
Councillors decided to deal with the issue at a later date after raising concerns about the potential impact on people who live nearby.
Others said it would be unfair to bar patio owners outside the designated districts on James Street North, Hess Village, the bayfront, Augusta Street, part of Upper James Street and Dundas.
Coun. Brenda Johnson said she had concerns about the plan in rural areas because sound can travel great distances in undeveloped landscapes.
Coun. Jason Farr supported the idea, saying it was consistent with Hamilton’s desire to brand itself as a music city.
The noise level would be kept to 60 decibels, which is the same volume as a discussion at an average planning committee meeting, Farr added. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday October 14, 2016
The organizer of the annual Harvest Picnic music festival has filed a lawsuit against one of Canada’s largest talent agencies, as well as musical acts Jann Arden, Johnny Reid and the Cowboy Junkies, seeking more than $26 million in damages due to breach of contract.
The lawsuit also says both the Harvest Picnic and the annual Hamilton Music Awards are in danger of collapsing.
Local promoter Jean Paul Gauthier alleges The Feldman Agency, based in Toronto and Vancouver, Reid and the Cowboy Junkies both breached contract provisions preventing them from playing within a certain radius of Hamilton within 90 days of the Aug. 26 to 28 Harvest Picnic at Christie Lake Conservation Area. His claims against Arden relate to concert date announcements.
Feldman acted as the booking agency for those festival acts.
The allegations, which have not been tested in court, were made in a 15-page statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court under Gauthier’s company, September Seventh Entertainment, which also runs the annual Hamilton Music Awards.
“The events that September Seventh produces and owns, namely the Harvest Picnic and Hamilton Music Awards, are now at great risk of ceasing to exist due to the unconscionable conduct, high-handed conduct or conduct in bad faith and breaches of contract by the defendants,” the statement of claim says.
This year the Harvest Picnic expanded from one to three days. Crowds were noticeably lower than the previous five years.
Meanwhile, several artists, many of them local, have said they have not been paid by Gauthier.
“I got a bounced cheque,” said Hamilton singer-songwriter Tomi Swick, who performed twice at the festival. “It’s a sad situation. (Gauthier) has always been pretty good to me. It was a good festival.”
Other musicians who have not yet been paid by the festival include the Toronto-based band The Rheostatics, Hamilton singer-songwriter Lori Yates and Hamilton native Jeremy Fisher.
“I honestly feel bad for (Gauthier),” said Fisher’s manager Mike Renaud, owner of Hamilton-based Hidden Pony Records. “I think he just got in over his head. I don’t think he’s a malicious person. But I don’t think this (filing a lawsuit) is the best way to handle it.”
Calls and emails to Gauthier were not returned. A representative of The Feldman Agency offered The Spectator no comment on the lawsuit, but Feldman president Jeff Craib told CBC News that it was “frivolous and vexatious.”
In a statement emailed to The Spectator, The Rheostatics said the band felt “let down.” (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday July 23, 2016
Fans are breathlessly anticipating the Tragically Hip concert tonight in Victoria.
It’s the first show of the band’s latest tour following late May’s shocking revelation that front man Gord Downie, 52, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
The Hip has been perfecting its artistry for decades, entertaining millions with crowd-pleasers like Bobcaygeon, At the Hundredth Meridian, and Ahead by a Century.
But, given the demands of the road, and with Downie’s dire prognosis, people are wondering just how this tour will unfold.
“I don’t know how they’re feeling [gearing up to] the launch of the tour, but I imagine they’re excited. I know their fans are excited,” said Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer, who has collaborated with the Hip in the past and says the group has been “firing people up” for years with “amazing” energy at live shows.
“I think they’re doing what they do, living in the moment, playing shows, making it unique every night,” she told CBC News.
Friday’s show will be emotional, “not only for the fans, but for the crew, for the promoters, for the buildings, for anyone who is there,” predicted Victoria-based music promoter Nick Blasko, who’s worked with the band a number of times.
“I think that there’s no hiding behind the reason why this tour is happening and, for a lot of people, this is a goodbye.”
Over the next month, the band will then continue through a 15-date concert tour across the nation, concluding with a grand finale in its hometown of Kingston, Ont. (Source: CBC News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 19, 2016
Tom Mulcair doesn’t come across as the kind of person who’d spend much time looking over his shoulder, even if he had to. But these days you have to wonder whether the NDP leader, who celebrates his fourth anniversary as head of the party next week, is taking the time to look both ways before he crosses any political streets between now and his party’s convention next month.
It would be wrong to say rumblings over Mulcair’s future with the party began only last week. Those rumblings have been a staple of the NDP’s background noise since its dismal showing in the Oct. 19 election. But with the exception of a well publicized sortie by Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo in January, and complaints last month from a newly minted Montreal-area riding association president, any I-told-you-sos had been uttered off the record, if only in apparent deference to the panel the party convened to autopsy why things went horribly wrong during the last campaign.
Given that the panel’s findings compelled Mulcair to write a letter of apology to the party’s rank and file and take full responsibility for the NDP’s return to third party status, it wasn’t entirely surprising to hear the volume turned up last week on the complaints over Mulcair’s leadership.
It started when Sid Ryan, former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told the Globe and Mail last week that Mulcair’s “overbearing personality” made it necessary for the NDP to seek out new leadership. That was followed by letters published in Le Devoir and the Toronto Star this week that didn’t mention Mulcair by name but may as well have spray painted it in day-glo orange across its text as three defeated MPs and nearly three dozen party activists complained the NDP had come adrift from its ideals and purpose.
That missive was quickly followed by a far more specific slam against Mulcair by NDP supporters at Concordia and McGill universities, pointing out “If the NDP wants to remain relevant in Canadian politics, Thomas Mulcair must not remain as party leader.”
At this point, Mulcair seems to be at war . The apparent refusal of NDP MP Niki Ashton to endorse his leadership when asked to do is the icing on an increasingly toxic political cake. Suddenly it seems the brand name Orange Crush may well be taking on a grim new meaning for the party leader. (Continued: London Free Press)