RIP: Former Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba John Harvard died January 9 from cancer in Winnipeg at age 77. He had a career with CBC Television spanning eighteen years from 1970 to 1988. He was the host of CBC Winnipeg's 24 Hours and was the host of CBC Vancouver's Pacific Report current affairs series in 1979-80.
- The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival has announced (via Facebook) that a stellar line-up of familiar faces are set to appear at a March 7 event, titled “Hello! Thunder Bay!,” during which “some of Canada’s top musical comedians will join a lineup of Canadian musicians sharing their weirdest, wackiest and most hilarious stories from the road.” Musicians Dave Bidini, Alex Lifeson, Terra Lightfoot, and Grand Analog are among those named so far.
- Kelly Jay has earned himself another feature in the Calgary newspapers. The former frontman of Crowbar made the news November after city officials threatened to clear his property of junk and bill him if he didn’t snap to it and clear debris and an ageing school bus from his residential yard. The story elicited a lot of sympathy from the community and people have been volunteering to help him overcome his affliction for hoarding that had also turned his house into a navigational nightmare.
The” Oh What a Feeling” singer has admitted he has issues with hoarding, particularly after suffering several traumatic losses.
In 2012, his wife of 15 years, Tami Jean, died of heart problems. Her death came years after his daughter suddenly vanished in the 1990s while working in Tokyo and the mother of his three children was killed in a car accident.
After his health deteriorated and his hoarding became worse, he agreed to appear on an episode of the reality TV series Hoarding: Buried Alive in 2013.
- Ann Dunn’s Matador Club in Toronto is to get a new lease on life. The after-hours dance venue was a hot spot among Torontonians back in the ‘60s and reinvented itself as a country tavern and booze can in the ‘80s where notables such as Stompin’ Tom, Leonard Cohen and kd lang could be found on occasion. New owner Paul McCaughey reports that, after a year-long campaign the Matador is going to get a liquor license and reopen.
- The 58th Round of the Radio Starmaker Fund is now open. The application deadline for the current round of funding is 5:00 PM EST, Thursday, February 18, 2016. The ability to file an application will be automatically shut down at that time, therefore please ensure that your application has been completed and submitted before this deadline. Apply here.
- The annual Profile Review for FACTOR is Monday, Feb 29. Complete details can be found on the Foundation webpage here.
- The cut-off date for JunoFest showcase opportunities is Jan 29. To apply, details about can be found on the Festival webpage here.
- The company that owns the National Post, the Toronto Sun and other major Canadian newspapers is accelerating and hiking its goal to cut costs as it continues to bleed advertising, print circulation and digital media revenue. Postmedia Network Canada Corp. says last year's acquisition of Quebecor's Sun Media newspapers helped push up the combined company's revenue to $251.1M— up from $169.5M for Postmedia alone. However, the company is now aiming for cost reductions of $80M by mid-2017 — up from its previous goal of $50M. To do this a strategy has been hatched to merge newsrooms in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa at the expense of 90 content-related employees. For the entertainment business, this means fewer Canadian stories and more wire feeds. The devolving state of affairs has been on-going since 2000 when Conrad Black’s Hollinger newspaper holdings were acquired by the Asper family-owned Canwest media properties. Like Hollinger, leveraged debt hollowed out the asset value of the marquee properties, and a group of creditors led by National Post CEO Paul Godfrey purchased the newspapers and Shaw Communications the broadcasting arm. Godfrey and company have since been dogged by falling ad revenues, mounting debt and slumping readership. The next chapter is hardly likely to deviate from recent past history. And so it goes….
- Last week we told you about Wintersleep’s new album The Great Detachment (out on March 4) and reported on their Toronto showcase at The Drake earlier this month. On Monday the NS-based outfit announced its first round of Canadian tour dates. The 11-city tour begins at The Grad Club in Kingston on March 1, closing out at Winnipeg’s Park Theatre on March 31. Tickets are on sale from January 21.
- Canadian country band Cold Creek County is now earning enviable US exposure for the recent Canadian hit single, “Our Town". The group has been selected to kick off CMT’s 2016 New Artist Discovery program, and the video for the song has been added to rotation on the popular US cable network.
- Named Canadian Music Week 2015 Festival of the Year, annual country fest Boots and Hearts has announced another strong lineup for 2016. New additions Jake Owen, Diamond Rio and Dean Brody join the likes of US superstars Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and Dierks Bentley, plus Sam Hunt, Tim Hicks, Emerson Drive, Jason Blaine, Cam, Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies, and many more. The fest runs at Burl’s Creek, Oro-Medonte, ON, from August 4th – 7th. Info and tix at www.bootsandhearts.com
- Toronto Downtown Jazz has just announced the four musicians chosen for support through the TD Discovery Series Special Projects initiative: pianist, poem and lyric composer Amanda Tosoff; Juno-nominated Sundar Viswanathan; acclaimed drummer Nick Fraser; and guitarist/composer David Occhipinti. The program provides marketing and public relations support for upcoming CD releases and concerts by these Toronto-based artists.