A couple follow-ups from last month’s column as two out of three events were cancelled or postponed. On September 13, The St. Catharines Standard reported that the Michael Moore performance as well as Niagara Social Awards (smash that subscribe button) have been cancelled. The news of Moore’s cancellation first broke on Twitter by Jim Cuddy and the PR firm working on the event said the cause was “due to unforeseen logistical circumstances.”
Second, but first in our climate-changing hearts, Extinction Rebellion Niagara (XRN) had planned on hosting a climate justice challenge for all St. Catharines Federal election candidates on September 4 at the Silver Spire Church. Just a couple days before the event, I received news on the cancellation. The event was marred by a couple of challenges including some political parties not yet knowing who the candidate in the riding would be, no official plan in regards to climate change to speak of and a Conservative BBQ on the same evening (it’s important to have priorities, right?).
However, this one isn’t dead in the water. The event has been re-scheduled to October 2 at 7pm at Warehouse. It’s being hosted by Green New Deal Niagara (GNDN) and seeks to answer the question: Who are our climate champions? GNDN is a grassroots organization building capacity for bold climate action.
I find the idea of all-candidates debate interesting, especially at a regional level. My only concern is that candidates likely have to toe to the party line and stick to the script. Unless I don’t know anything about politics (which obviously could be the case – I’m a music writer right?).
(Originally written on August 20 2016)
It’s weird, but I’ve only considered myself a Hip fan for a few years.
During high school, it was hard to go anywhere and avoid hearing a Hip song. I knew most of the words to the songs on Trouble at the Henhouse and Phantom Power, but still I didn’t really like the Hip.
I worked on a film project in grade 11 and the film was soundtracked by Day for Night. “Greasy Jungle” was set to a forest/ravine scene where the main character bought a watch off a guy wearing a trench coat. I still didn’t really get them.
Perhaps my disdain for the band stemmed from this “everthing indie” mantra I had, or how easy it was to blow them off as a typical bluesy rock bar band, or perhaps thinking of regular hockey joes or blue collar guys blowing off steam while jamming out to “50 Mission Cap.” I still don’t get why I didn’t get them.
It finally clicked when I met a former partner. She was the biggest Hip fan I ever met. The passion was clear. Gord Downie’s genius was evident. He’s a storyteller, he’s a poet, a remarkable human, his Canadian-ness stitched to his sleeve. I believed her, but I still didn’t get it.
We went to see Gord speak in Buffalo, NY a couple years ago for a Lake Ontario Waterkeeper conference. He spoke about the importance of our water and environment around the Great Lakes, and highlighted his words with song. It was inspired, touching, superior even. I was starting to get it.
I’m starting to find myself listening to Hip albums from the mid aughts and onwards and there are some real jewels that nobody really talks about. I’m struggling to find a favourite album, as the band really hasn’t put out a bad album. I’m writing this to Phantom Power and thinking about what the final song The Hip are going to play tonight. It could be a cliched classic, it could be a song shrouded with double-speak like “World Container.”
Whatever The Hip end up playing tonight, Gord Downie will be raising a thousand Stanley Cups over his head and the entire country will be cheering him on and I hope we all get to get it.
Of course, that final song The Tragically Hip broadcast across the nation that night in Kingston was “Ahead by A Century.” 14 months after the band’s final chord, Gord Downie would leave this void. He since hasn’t been replaced in our nation’s lore; nor will he ever be.
In collaboration with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre will host an event called Gord’s Legacy: Walking the Path of Reconciliation to pay tribute the iconic musician, artist and mere mortal. For the second year, featured artists will perform the works of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip on Friday 18 October in Partridge Hall at 7:30pm. This year, performers include Royal Wood, Tom Wilson, Dala, Peter Katz, Adrian Sutherland (Midnight Shine), Kevin Fox and others. The event will culminate behind the PAC in the Mann Raceway Plaza with a Hip singalong around a Sacred Fire.
“We are so proud to see our brother Gord’s mission being carried on and funds for his foundation being raised, through these incredible Legacy performances, and we are grateful to all of the artists, audiences and presenters for joining in his call to action to ‘Do Something.’” – Mike & Patrick Downie
Inspired by Chanie Wenjack’s story and Gord Downie’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Funds raised from this event will go directly to the DWF.