Category Archives: Entertainment

The Brant Street Pier finally opens

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After a long wait, The Brant Street Pier finally opened in June during this year’s Sound of Music Festival on Fathers Day Weekend.

The Pier is the final phase of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington project. Other phases of the project include the parking garage at 414 Locust Street, Discovery Landing, the Rotary Centennial Pond, and The Dofasco Waterjet Plaza.

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Located at the Eastern End of Spencer Smith Park, the Brant Street Pier extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario. The S-shaped pier is connected to the park’s existing promenade by a coloured concrete walkway.

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Five metres above the water, the pier’s platform is built on 14 caissons drilled into a bedrock foundation.

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Located along the sides of the deck are LED lamps extending over the walkway and benches without backs, offering different views of the lake.

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Further out (85 meters), the deck widens for a circular node. In the centre of the node is a raised platform that is nine metres in diameter and can be accessed via circular staircase.

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Atop the platform is a 12-metre beacon with an oblong nautical-style structure complemented by rings clad with a perforated metal sheet.

The beacon is made of a tubular structural steel framing. The stiffness of structural steel framing will ensure the structure can withstand the high winds of Lake Ontario.

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The platform not only supports the beacon, but also offers a different vantage point from the pier.

According to the City of Burlington, the construction of the pier was also attentive to the environment. The height of the pier allows the free flow of the water under the platform. Along the eastern edge of the promenade, the beach has been preserved and the project includes providing fish habitat compensation and enhancements for Sheldon Creek.

The total cost of the pier construction is an estimated $14.4 million.

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Fringe Review: XOXO

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Playwright: Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennett
Director: Franny McCabe-Bennett & Meghan Chalmers
Cast: Meghan Chalmers & Franny McCabe-Bennett

Show Type: Comedy
Audience: General

Performed at Gallery #3: James North Studio

Review by: Thomas Allen

The duo of Two Juliets (Meghan Chalmers and Franny McCabe-Bennett) put on a terrific show in “XOXO”, a must see comedy about relationship struggles.

From spinning the bottle, to creating a fluffy on-line dating profile, and even an awkward interview turned coughing lesson, the show was filled with clever humour.

A memorable moment is their lesson about what alcoholic beverage boyfriends aren’t allowed to have if they’re out with other girls. The answer: beer. Catch the show to find out why, though.

It was not only well acted, well-timed, and dramatic. They also sang and danced to some old classics and some new original songs. The dancing accompanying the singing was far from poetic, it was jerky, awkward, and perfect.

Performed at James Street North Studio, the show was very intimate. Both actresses interacted with the crowd in a way that was well scripted and hilarious. It was too hard not to chuckle when this sassy duo looked at you.

Like Abbot and Costello, Meghan set up the bottles and Franny knocked them down. The chemistry they exhibited in their performance was flawless.

This isn’t just a show for women. It’s a show for everyone who’s been in a relationship. And it was totally worth eight dollars.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Oh God – The Drums

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Playwright: Brad Hart
Director: Evalyn Parry
Cast: Brad Hart

Review by: Thomas Allen

Through a smart, well-scripted monologue, Brad Hart weaves an intriguing story about his life that makes “Oh God-The Drums” a must see at this year’s 10th Anniversary Fringe Festival.

Hart talks about growing up, his undying love for drumming, and drummers, and his rocky relationship with his father.

The story was briefly educational, for those unfamiliar with the history of classic rock, or jazz. From Neil Pert, to Mike Shrieve and Tony Williams, Hart gives a brief history of drummers and the impact they’ve made on him.

He had his 25-year-old drum kit with him on stage, the only kit he’s ever owned. Throughout the show he would use the drums to demonstrate how, sometimes awkwardly throughout his life, he learned percussion for real.

The story of growing up that unfolds was no-holds bars; he really puts himself out there on the stage for the audience. Hart honestly describes moments and stages in his life and the internal struggle with the love of his drums and the absent love of his father that they represent.

In his monologue, he tells you about his failures, or his feelings of insignificance. He pulls at heartstrings as he spills his emotions in front of captivated onlookers. He drew laughter, understanding, appreciation, and sympathetic “awes” from the audience.

It was a refreshing story about a man who fulfilled his childhood dream, which can be rare now-a-days. He didn’t care about how much money he’s made, or that he’s never lived on the ground floor throughout his whole adulthood. Hart is just happy to be doing what he loves and we should applaud him for that.

Oh, and his drummer jokes are priceless. The only thing missing in this play was a wicked drum solo.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse

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Playwright: Aaron Middlemiss
Director: Steff Bishop Lampman
Cast: Laura Ellis, Iain Lacourt, Lila Hunt, Kristi Boulton, Matt Moore, Erik Canaria, Margaret Lintott, Tyler Brent, Andrew Noble, John Migliore, Marty Chenette, Steven Fotheringham, Bryan Fotheringham, Meaghan O’Connor, Katlyn Alcock

Review by: Thomas Allen

“Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse” is a hilarious slasher-style play bound to keep you in suspense. It was like “Shaun of the Dead”, but with lesbians and a wedding.

Laura Ellis played Olivia, the wedding planner/tomboy/hero, who was taught survivalist skills by her father. Little did she know those skills would come in handy when she takes on a new job as a wedding planner.

In an awkward coincidence, she ends up planning a wedding for Lila Hunt’s character, Angora (or Bridezilla). The groom of Angora is Peter (played by Iain Lacourt), an awkward and nervous man who had a one-night stand with Olivia.

Peter’s mother, Farah, was an overbearing control freak hell-bent on ruining Angora’s big day. His Uncle Harold, seemingly ill, showed up with Farah to the wedding and quickly turned into a zombie. After they killed him, the cast carried him around like the film “Weekend At Bernie’s.” It was a clever touch.

The Maid of Honour (Kristi Boulton) and Olivia connect not only as actors, but in the play as well. They become infatuated with one another as the play progresses and a witty, well placed joke is made about “coming out of the closet.” Oh, and their relationship gets steamy (like, real hot).

The zombie attacks were well choreographed and there was plenty of blood spattered on the stage, as well as the audience. The supporting cast was superb and their delivery was impeccable. Every character made you laugh out loud at least once.

If you like zombies, babes, and tuxedo shirts, then “Bridezilla vs The Apocalypse” is the show for you.

P.S. don’t forget to bring a poncho. Or purchase one there for $1.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: The Gore Mis-Fits

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Playwright: Robert LP Savoie
Director: Patti Cannon
Cast: Shilo Nelson, Jonny Kerr, Jamie Taylor , Gord Nelson, Luis Arrojo

Review by: Thomas Allen

If you’re interested in learning about everyday life in Gore Park, you’re in for a treat with “The Gore Mis-Fits.”

Based on five Hamiltonians, the play loosely revolves around their friend Blue Cap (played by Gord Nelson) getting married.

Johnny Kerr plays Josh, a wheelchair restricted individual with cerebral palsy, who tells the narrative of his buddies, at the city’s Civic Center.

From the closure of public washrooms, to over-zealous cops, and the current controversy over the possible demolition of the park’s streetwall, the play suggests that the decisions of the city’s authorities can affect the parks character and those who occupy it.

That being said, the play had no real ebb and flow. Although each character in the play had some enjoyable exchanges with Josh, there was no climax to the story, just everyday dialogue between friends.

What the play does make clear, however, is to never judge a book by its cover. Often, the people who inhabit Gore Park are mislabeled and this play sheds some light on the issue. It reminds us all that Gore Park is, and will always be, the heart of Hamilton.

“The Gore Mis-Fits” was a raw performance that plenty of people in and from Hamilton can relate to.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews.

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Fringe Review: Normal

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Playwright: Anthony Neilson
Cast: Justin Goodhand, Edward Charette, Shanda Bezic
Director: Jakob Ehman

On a stormy Friday night, the trio of Edward Charette, Justin Goodhand, and Shanda Bezic gave a haunting performance in the play “Normal.”

Based on a true story, “Normal” is about Peter Kürten, a German serial killer dubbed “The Vampire of Düsseldorf.” Peter Kürten (played by Justin Goodhand) committed several acts of sexual crimes, assaults, and murders in Düsseldorf during the 1920’s.

In the play, a young criminal defense lawyer, Justus Wehner (Edward Charette), holds a series of one-on-one interviews with Peter Kürten while he is on trial for nine murders. What unravels before the audience is a disturbing story of a sadist who wants nothing more than to achieve the same fame as Jack The Ripper.

Peter Kürten not only tells a gruesome tale of his troubling past and the horrific crimes he committed, but also leads Justus to question his own past. As the play progresses, the two characters develop a strange friendship when they realize they’re not so different after all.

Shanda Bezic played Frau Kürten, a former sex worker who succumbs to Peter’s charm and becomes the wife of the notorious serial killer. The three become entangled in a deadly love triangle when Justus interviews Frau about her relationship with Peter.

The play was flawlessly executed, with fluid, seamless transitions as smooth as the choreographed dance scenes and musical score.

With little more than a table, two chairs, and a notepad, the actors stole the show and captivated an enthralled audience. They never faltered in script, looked out-of-character, or wavered in their delivery.

“Normal” will not only give you goosebumps, but also leave you wanting more.

This article is also published for the Fringe Festival 2013 Community Reviews

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PHOTO OF THE DAY – July 13th

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Modjeska Dock – Pier 5, Hamilton

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July 13, 2013 · 8:48 pm

I Heart Hamilton hosts “The Playlist 2.0” benefit at This Ain’t Hollywood

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I Heart Hamilton is celebrating its second anniversary with The Playlist 2.0 (Fundraiser for Food4Kids) at This Ain’t Hollywood on Saturday, June 8th.

The Playlist 2.0 will feature performances by New Hands, The Dirty Nil, and San Sebastian. There will also be guest DJ sets by Rockstars For Hire, the DJ team behind the weekly “No Standards Night” parties.

I Heart Hamilton began in May 2011 with the concept, “Be a tourist in your own city.” The goal of the blog is to not only discover Hamilton, but also encourage others to get out and explore the city. From boutiques to bars and everything in-between, blogger Kristin Archer is dedicated to promoting local businesses by visiting and sharing her findings on the blog.

Last year, The Playlist 1.0 was held at This Ain’t Hollywood, and raised $1719 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton.

All media are welcome and photo and video opportunities are available. Tickets are $12 and are available at the venue or at Dr. Disc. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the event is 19+.

All proceeds from the night will be donated to Food4Kids.

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Hamilton is working on installing some new public art

By: Katie Stoneman

Hamilton’s Claremont access will soon get an artistic facelift, and it won’t be at the hands of graffiti artists. The plan is to commission a mural for the walls of the Claremont access that faces Carter Park.

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“The Carter Park art mural will represent a new beginning for our neighbourhood and we are very excited about it,” said Brian Goodman, president of the Stinson Community Association.

An open call to artists for the Carter Park mural is currently being prepared and should be released this month. The mural will be located on the concrete wall of the Claremont access that is considered quite an eyesore in the area.

A report from the focus group for the project outlines the goals of the mural. The report states that, “The Claremont access does not contribute to the quality of the park and is seen as physically dividing the neighbourhood. Any art work should minimize (the Claremont Access’s) impact on the park.”

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“The mural will be an immediate focus point, an attraction and will give life and meaning to that cold impersonal wall. In an underlying way it suggests pride, safety, and announces there is a wonderful community here,” said Goodman.

The city had an open call for artists for the same project last year, but the mural was never completed.

Part of the issue was problems some artists were having with the city’s art procurement process. Complaints were made about having to pay the non-refundable fee of $64.99 online or $45.99 in person for the Request for Proposal documents. The process has since been reviewed and revised.

The review suggested that the fees be waived, and that the responsibility of the administration of the Public Art Acquisition Process be turned over to the Tourism and Culture Divisions city staff.

Another part of the issue was with the submissions made last year.

“The jury didn’t feel they got the propositions they wanted,” said Ken Coit, the City of Hamilton’s Art in Public Places Coordinator.

The jury, which remains confidential, is different for each project. The focus group, or jury, is usually made up of artists, stakeholders, business people and other people with an interest in the project.

“It usually takes three to four months once we actually have the submissions in. We have to leave time for the artists process,” said Coit.

There are currently two other pubic art projects that are in the consultation stage for the city of Hamilton, including the Battlefield Park art competition.

The consultation stage asks the public for their opinion on the proposed art projects. For Battlefield Park there are three propositions under a theme that interprets the outcomes of Battle of Stoney Creek and the War of 1812.

“The importance of a public art project cannot be understated. Besides providing a point of interest, it provides a dialogue that transcends what language you speak, what religion you follow, or what mental state you are in,” said Goodman.

This article is also abbreviated and published at The Bay Observer and in April’s print edition

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Song: Wonderful Hamilton

Have a listen to this 1960’s promotional song titled “Wonderful Hamilton”.

The song was made for CKOC (Oldies 1150) and it mentions many of Hamilton’s attractions, destinations, and institutions.

Catchy, isn’t it?!

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February 26, 2013 · 10:54 am