Windsor Ontario News / Arts & Entertainment

Southern Ontario's two other film festivals, one getting underway today October 26 2017

There’s not only the Windsor International Film Festival getting underway over the coming week.

There are two other film festivals – in Sarnia and London - taking place around the same time.

Sarnia’s Southwestern Ontario International Film Festival (SWIFF) runs Nov. 2 – 5 while London’s Forest City Film Festival kicks off today and runs until Sunday.

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Concert may be a first for Canada Sept. 26 2017

It’s a rarity and perhaps hasn’t been done anywhere else.

The Windsor Symphony Orchestra has teamed up with the Windsor Jewish Community Centre to put on a performance featuring the music of all Jewish composers.

The concert takes place 7.30 pm, Oct 3rd at the Jewish Community Centre on Ouellette Avenue.

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Fundraiser concert celebrates Windsor's rich musical history August 30 2017

Celebrate Windsor music and help build a rich musical legacy.

The Windsor Music Archives is hosting its second fundraiser to create a permanent home of Windsor music lore.

The event is called Reunions and takes place Sept. 29 at the Rondo, 63 Pitt St. E.

Of course, with a name like Reunions, you can expect some of the area’s legacy talents to be on hand.

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Detroit '67 riot commemorated at several walkable Motown exhibits August 17 2017

The 50th anniversary of the Detroit riot sees major exhibitions regarding that event taking place across Detroit.

There are six such exhibits and all within walking distance.

Here’s even an official Passport to tie them altogether.

One of the first to open was at the Detroit Historical Museum, located across from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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Construction starting this summer on Leamington's shiny new theatre July 13 2017

Come this time next year the only independently-owned and operated theatre in Essex County outside of Windsor will have shiny new digs, complete with new box office, washrooms and retractable seating. 

Leamington’s Bank Theatre will be starting renovations late this summer after acquiring a small building next to its current location at 10 Erie Street, which is a former bank building.

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Luxury seats, "immersive" theatre but still no alcohol or gourmet food June 8 2017

Seven of Cineplex’s 12 Devonshire Mall theatres are now equipped with “luxurious, reclining seats,” the company says – fast-paced considering the original announcement for the upgrade was in early March.

But don’t expect to be served food or liquor at your seats, like Cineplex does in its 17 VIP locations - the closest being in London – as well as buying alcohol as at other locations.

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Glass, glass and even more glass May 25 2017

Glass, glass and more glass.

In fact, it's possibly the foremost glass art gallery in America, and located in Detroit's suburban Royal Oak.

Habitat Galleries was started in 1971 and certainly is the oldest and largest glass art gallery in the US.

Currently it's also exhibiting the world's largest international glass exhibition – its 45th annual.

The exhibit features 100 artists from the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Australia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, and others.

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Suburban museum shows work of famed Detroit rock poster artist April 17 2017

Gary Grimshaw, one of the most famous rock poster artists of the 1960s and 70s – and who hailed from Detroit – is the subject of an exhibit at the Lincoln Park Historical Society.

Lincoln Park is the downriver Detroit suburb where Grimshaw grew up, and he was a friend of those other famed Lincoln Park alumni, the musicians of the revolutionary – in music and politics – band, the MC 5.

Naturally, Grimshaw designed myriad posters for the band.

The exhibit, “Gary Grimshaw: The Master Artist’s Studio,” complements another about the MC 5, also held at the museum, which is located at the corner of Southfield Rd. and Fort St. 

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Hip-hop meets the Renaissance March 7 2017

Kehinde Wiley works on a big scale.

He’s also one of the top African American artists working today.

And Windsorites have only to drive an hour south to the Toledo Museum of Art to see 60 of his paintings and sculptures.

The exhibit, called Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, runs until May 14.

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Michigan museum hosts acclaimed Chinese "Bird's Nest" stadium artist February 2 2017

Just a few short driving hours way, Michigan has scored a coup by hosting an exhibit by one of the current art world’s most influential figures, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids is hosting Natural State, the artist’s first show of its kind at a botanical garden or sculpture park anywhere in the world.

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From lunchboxes to lunchbox town Dec 20 2016

Send in your lunch boxes.

The Art Galley of Windsor wants you to temporarily donate school and work lunchboxes for an exhibition exploring the humble, or not so humble, sandwich the food, and Sandwich the community.

It’s all part of a two-year exhibit launching next spring that will look at the historic Windsor community in a way not explored before – through food.

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Jewish centre, Mexican consulate team up for war memorial, film, tribute October 20 2016

The Windsor Jewish Community and local Mexican consulate are teaming up to present a unique event, called War Stories.

This month the two will unveil a monument honoring local Jewish veterans during World wat II.

And they will show a film about an extraordinary event during that war, when a Mexican diplomat in France saved the lives of as many as 40,000 Jews.

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Windsor artist's transgendered-themed quilt on display at Michigan's ArtPrize Sept. 28 2016

Andrea Cassidy’s quilted artwork (picture left) at the 2016 Grand Rapids Michigan high profile ArtPrize exhibition goes to the heart of transgendered identity.

But unlike traditional artwork it seeks to involve the public, even asking them to participate in what they see in front of them.

“Play the game, touch the quilt, get involved,” creator Andrea Cassidy says of the art piece, called Gender Bender.

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New Muslim peace and harmony sculpture also designed for selfies Sept. 6 2016

A local Muslim organization wants to donate a major public sculpture advocating peace and harmony that could end up on the city’s riverfront.

It might also be a great place as a backdrop for selfies.

Called Love for All, Hatred for None, the sculpture is designed by Windsorite Sidra Tahir, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community (group's logo above), and would be a gift to the city to celebrate the national organization’s 50th anniversary in Canada.

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"Precarious" downtowns subject of major local art exhibition next year July 25 2016

“Locational precarity?”

Or try this – “multiplicities.”

Those are terms the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW) is using to lure artists to contribute to its triennial contemporary art exhibition next year.

But some might want to grab a dictionary first.


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Survey asks "arts lovers" how they consume events, media, facilities June 30 2016

The Windsor International Film Festival is conducting a survey about how “arts lovers” consumer the arts.

The 10 minute survey asks everything from how people learn about an event to whether they dine out before or after a performance.

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Upcoming Kingsville summer festival combines fine art, fine wine and food June 1 2016

There are art shows and there are outdoor wine and culinary events but a Kingsville art show this summer is combining all three.

It’s the fourth annual Just ASK (Arts Society of Kingsville) Fine Arts & Fine Crafts Show & Sale that features not only art but wine, food and even music.

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Magical Mystery Tour at Henry Ford May 17 2016

Beatles fans or not – and there are probably few who aren’t – might want to take in a new exhibit at Dearborn’s The Henry Ford.

It traces the history of the Fab Four through highly experiential exhibits, including a replica Cavern Club and the actual last autograph ever signed by John Lennon. 

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City's oldest film festival kicks off May 2 with film starring Christopher Plummer April 22 2016

The Windsor Jewish Film Festival – 14th edition – opens May 2 and runs until may 5 at Devonshire Cineplex theatres.

Festival spokesman Stuart Selby said attendance last year was more than 2000, showing the event is increasingly drawing people from beyond the Jewish community, which has about 1200 individuals.

“Obviously that’s where it has to grow because the Jewish community is shrinking,” the retired communications professor (University of Windsor) and Brooklyn native said.

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First local youth “politically-influenced” mural project launching this Spring March 30 2016

What’s considered the first-ever politically-inspired youth mural project in Windsor will soon see the light of day at the Rose City Islamic Centre.

Prizes of $250, $500 and $1000 will be awarded.

Youth in this case means ages between 15 and 29.

The murals will adorn the Islamic Centre’s community garden.

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Windsor Iraqi exhibit garners international attention and funds February 19 2016

A current exhibit at the Art Gallery of Windsor is receiving international attention and is generating tens of thousands of dollars in donations.

Wafaa Bilal: 168:01 opened Jan. 30 and runs until April 10.

The installation, a reference to war and emptiness, is a stark large white bookcase containing 1000 empty books.

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Canada's coast-to-coast film festival February 1 2016

Get ready for your antidote to the Super Bowl.

Cineplex's Great Digital Film Festival starts Friday and runs until Feb. 11.

But even if you like football you can attend many of the 15 digitally remastered classic films on offer.

“It’s Canada’s only coast to coast film festival,” Tecumseh native Brad LaDouceur, Cineplex’s vice president of Event Cinema said.

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Leamington amphitheatre could be up and running by this summer January 7 2016

Leamington could be playing host to professional acts in a brand new amphitheatre this summer.

The town’s director of infrastructure services Rob Sharon will be bringing to council early next month a final price tag on the “performing arts” theatre, (rendition above) part of a major redevelopment of the waterfront including an upgrade to Seacliff Park.

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Lights, sculpture fest at Detroit Zoo December 2 2015

Canadians who take their families to the Detroit Zoo have another reason to go there this holiday season.

It’s Wild Lights, a colourful light spectacular featuring five million LED lights and more than 100 animal sculptures for 24 nights during this holiday season.

“It’s a spectacular opportunity to get together with friends and family and bask in the holiday spirit,” zoo spokeswoman Patricia Janeway says.

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Pioneer in inner city neighbourhood October 6 2015

Corktown Studios doesn’t expect to exactly spark development on its forlorn street just north of I-75 in Detroit’s traditional Corktown district.

“I think it’s kind of arrogant to say an artists’ collective can revitalize an entire neighbourhood,” founding member and iron sculptor Jake Chidester - whose works dot the studio’s backyard - says.

Nevertheless arts spaces have been among the first to locate in abandoned or derelict neighbourhoods, with growth in the form of restaurant, retail and residential gentrification coming after that.

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Windsor's Biblioasis's new venture raises Canadian authors' profile Sept. 8 2015

Windsor's home-grown publishing company and bookstore Biblioasis has embarked on a new publishing venture with a new imprint or publishing division, "reSet", to give a higher profile to Canadian authors. But don't refer to it by the tired old nationalistic term CanLit. The following is an interview with company founder and publisher Dan Wells.

What’s the name mean?

Names are quite tough, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out this one. reSet Books is a re-bot of a previous reprint series we started shortly after forming a press in 2004 called Biblioasis Renditions. Renditions means to perform, but also to give back, something we though central to our role as publishers. It's really a beautiful word. But the US government's use of the phrase 'rendition' to denote the practice of sending captives to countries which have laxer torture laws damaged the world, layering it with negative associations.

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'Kick Out the Jams' - little museum features legendary MC5 exhibit July 24 2015

It's Kick out the Jams all over again.

For a little community museum in suburban Detroit, the legendary MC5 - a heavy metal Detroit rock band that was emblematic of late 1960s youth culture and considered a major influence on the later punk rock movement - has a special place in their hearts.

You see, four of the band’s original five members were from the working class downriver suburb.

The band is most famous for their, at the time, outrageous song Kick Out the Jams, which actually featured two versions.

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Museum showcases local hair sculptor

You’ve seen clay sculptures, ceramic sculptures, bronze sculptures - how about hair sculptures? This weekend at the Detroit Institute of Arts one of the top purveyors of the “art” will be on hand to demonstrate her exotic and fanciful (hair) sculptures. Detroit’s own Kristina Beaty, aka The GlamTech, will demonstrate how she makes fabulous curls and twirls, often in many colors. You can catch her between noon and 4 pm Saturday and Sunday in the museum’s Prentis Court. Her work has been featured in publications like O Magazine. Here favorite looks tend to 1940's glamour. Beaty’s appearance at the Detroit museum is an example of how the museum plans to exhibit more unconventional – or wider – art forms, according to an administrator. – 25/10/17

Celebrated local sculptor looking to open gallery store

Now that he has a new home, celebrated local sculptor Mark Williams hopes to be opening a store. Williams has sculpted many prominent sculptures and monuments including the upcoming Brock and Tecumseh statues in a roundabout at the entrance of Olde Sandwich Towne. Other sculptures include a fire fighters memorial, an historical cannon firing demonstration along Amherstburg’s waterfront, and 

a Ford workers’ sculpture along Drouillard Rd. He recently moved to Maidstone and purchased a former funeral parlour at the corner of Manning and Talbot Rd. (leading into Essex). “I’m just in the process of hopefully opening some sort of store up front here with my sculptures and collectibles – all kinds of stuff,” he said. He’s working hard on the conversion. “It doesn’t even look like a funeral home,” he laughed. His house is immediately behind. – 17/8/17

Domino's Farms' Frank Lloyd Wright works

Domino’s world headquarters are in Ann Arbor Michigan at Domino’s Farms, a vast half mile long building which uses some of the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright’s low level Prairie Style in its architecture. Owner Tom Monaghan has also been infatuated with Wright, and has collected more than 300 objects designed by the man considered America’s greatest architect. Some of these are currently on display at Domino’s Ave Maria Fine Art Gallery, itself a series of long hallways of art that might lead a visitor to ask, “who knew?” such a place existed. On display are examples of Wright’s stained glass and leaded windows and doors, models of some of his most famous houses, photos and letters. The models include houses that were built in the Detroit area and still stand. The Prairie Style features buildings with long overhanging roofs that represent the flatness of the American prairie. The exhibit is on display Monday through Saturday. Domino’s Farms is located off US 23 (Plymouth Rd). Enter by Lobby C. – 21/7/17

Little festival that could expands a day

Why go to Toronto when you can see the cream of the Toronto International Film Festival here? That’s as good a reason as any to enjoy this, the 13th edition, of the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF). This year’s event, Oct. 30 – Nov. 5, will expand by a day, and has now enlisted two venues – the Capitol Theatre and St. Clair Centre for the Arts (Chrysler Theatre) – for the entire event. The festival is ranked second among 158 events on the Toronto film festival circuit. Last year it sold 20,000 tickets. Only 128 days remain before it opens so, as WIFF says in a release, “let the countdown begin.” – 27/6/17

Photo: WIFF

Windsor's avant-garde festival announces dates

Media City, Windsor’s avant-garde and internationally respected film festival, takes place August 2 -5, and early bird tickets are on sale. Underlining its international flavor the 22nd edition’s opening night screening will take place at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Remaining screenings will be shown at the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre. Specific program and screening announcements will be made in June and July. All-access Passes are $25 and available until July 5, then the cost is $40. – 23/5/17

Burned out band appearing here

Following a fire last year where the band – almost – literally lost their shirts, Montreal group The Damn Truth will put in an appearance this Saturday at Villains Beastro, downtown Windsor. The band’s van caught fire “in the middle of nowhere between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay” while on their first Canadian tour, according to a release. The band quickly put together a fundraising campaign and raised over $10,000 in 24 hours. The tour continued. The band is helmed by singer Lee-la Baum, who recorded a vocal for an Yves St. Laurent commercial. The band’s musical roots are in 60s and 70s rock – think elements of Black Sabbath with a strong female lead – though there are flourishes of alt and indie rock. – 11/5/17

Windsor's newest record store

Just in time for Record Store Day, the city has a new record store. Sunrise Records has taken over the location of HMV in Devonshire Mall. Sunrise took over 70 HMV locations but the company has been coy about indicating where exactly some of the new shops are located. Attempts over the past couple of months to reach the Hamilton (Ancaster)-based chain have been unsuccessful, despite a clerk at the London Sunrise store saying headquarters responds quickly. Yet on Sunrise’s website it says it has a new location at Windsor’s Devonshire Mall. In February, Sunrise took over the store leases from HMV, a British chain which declared bankruptcy in January. The last stores closed April 14th. The local HMV phone has been disconnected and there is no listing yet for Sunrise. Sunrise’s history goes all the way back to its founding in 1977 and recently had nine Ontario locations. As with the theme of Record Store Day, which celebrates the “unique culture” of independent record stores, Sunrise owner Douglas Putman has said he believes there’s still a role for the good old record store, and plans a wider selection of discs – including vinyl – compared to HMV. Sunrise, in its release, said the music industry itself was concerned Canada was losing too many stores. Universal Music Canada president Jeffrey Remedios said record stores are "a community hub where passions are shared, art is explored, and lasting journeys begin." Even though a chain it seems Sunrise Records has the soul of an independent. – 18/4/17

Scorsese film consultant will speak in the city 

An academic who worked on the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese film Silence, which recently screened in Windsor, will be speaking in the city March 9. Michigan State history professor Liam Brockey, who has written extensively on European missionary priests in Asia, will talk on the subject Book of Martyrs: Dying for the Faith in Japan, 1597-1650. The prize-winning historian’s lecture begins at 6 pm at the Toldo Health Education Centre, Room 100, University of Windsor. The film depicts the hardships of missionaries and brutality by Japanese rulers against Catholics in 17th century Japan. It stars Liam Neeson and is up for a best cinematography Oscar. - 21/2/17

Public art wanted everywhere, not just on the city's riverfront

The city doesn’t want you to think that public art has to be relegated to the city’s waterfront, as beautiful as the Windsor Sculpture Park may be. It has drawn up a list of dozens of locations across Windsor, from community centres to parks, where both temporary and permanent exhibits can be located. These include places like Adie Knox (pictured), Charles Clark Square, Ojibway Nature Centre and Huron Lodge. “The City’s Public Art Policy provides opportunities to exhibit throughout the City in many of our public spaces, cultural affairs manager Cathy Masterson says. “This has been ongoing since the policy was first approved by Council in 2005.” The art can come “from anyone” in the community or environs. Already several sites have hosted temporary and permanent exhibitions. Artists can apply through Masterson’s office. – 5/1/17

Detroit streets named after its music stars

This week another Detroit street will be renamed for one its if many musical legends. Milwaukee Ave. just off Woodward and near the Amtrak station will be renamed Stevie Wonder Avenue. It joins a host of other streets named after Motown greats such as Berry Gordy Jr. Blvd. (West Grand Blvd.) in front of the Motown Museum. South of that, between Warren Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr., and just west of the Lodge Expressway, there’s a whole neighbourhood of intersecting streets named after Motown artists: Aretha Ave., Temptations and Four Tops Drives, Miracles Blvd., Martha Reeves Dr., Miracles Blvd., Contours Lane and Marvin Gaye Drive. In the suburbs, there’s Glenn Frey Drive, named after the Eagles member and Detroit native, located north of 11 Mile Road and just west off of Main Street. The street is near the school that Frey attended growing up in Royal Oak. – 19/12/16

BookFest, film festival's overlap cannot be fixed

It might seem strange that two of the area’s most celebrated arts events take place at the same time but there appears no other way around it. The Windsor International Film Festival’s 12th edition runs Nov. 1 – 6. BookFest Windsor’s 15th edition is Nov. 4 - 6. Both take place downtown and often draw from the same audience. WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie says at one time BookFest predated WIFF during the fall season. “I’m a bit sad because I always went to BookFest. It was always like a ramp-up to WIFF and always got to enjoy it." But Georgie maintained WIFF’s dates are set in stone and won’t be altered. “Because of our distribution cycle within the film industry this is when the festival runs,” he said. “For us we’re absolutely not changing our dates.” Lenore Langs, president of Literary Arts Windsor, which sponsors BookFest, said her festival’s dates also can’t be changed. “Because of venue availability and the timing of other literary festivals across Canada - which means that authors given a choice go to Whistler rather than Windsor - now that's competition! - we found that we had to schedule on our historical weekend, the first weekend in November.” Langs said BookFest organizers “prefer to think” the two events can "complement," rather than cannibalize, one another. She noted WIFF “often has multiple screenings of a film” so attendees don’t have to sacrifice one item in their itinerary for another. – 10/10/16

Windsor events on tap for provincial Culture Days 

Windsor has several events lined-up as part of Ontario’s Culture Days taking place Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and 2. These include an open house at the Capitol Theatre (photo above), Art Cart tours at the Windsor Sculpture Park, free admission to the Chimczuk Museum, and you can meet and watch artists do their thing at the Windsor Artists’ Co-Op. The multidisciplinary w.a.v.e.s. festival is also making a return after an absence last year, at the city’s Sculpture Park. Culture Days differs from Doors Open Windsor, which is taking place Sept. 24 and 25 and features more that 40 sites where people can take self-guided tours of historic an architectural significant buildings. There will even be a shuttle. “While Doors Open Ontario opens the door to heritage sites across the province, Culture Days is dedicated to building a national network of cultural connections devoted to providing Canadians with opportunities to participate in, and appreciate, all forms of arts and culture,” says spokesman David French. – 7/9/16

Morse Code inventor was ... an artist?

The guy who invented the telegraph and the Morse code was a painter? Actually he may have painted more than he invented. And one of his paintings is on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Samuel F. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre, is on display until September. The painting shows a fictitious gallery of the famous museum with numerous paintings of actual works found in the Louvre in Paris by Rembrandt, Rubens and da Vinci – all replicated by Morse – also with his family and friends including the novelist James Fennimore Cooper (The Last of the Mohicans). He intended it to be a “miniature museum” for Americans who couldn’t afford to travel to France. An ambitious painting but it didn’t go over that well with the public. Disappointed, Morse quit art and concentrated on other forms of communication. – 7/7/16