Landmark Cinemas to open at former Silver City site in time for Christmas

AE - Landmark Cinemas July 4 2024

The Windsor area will have its third cinema complex by the end of the year. Construction is well underway at the former Silver City site in south Windsor, which will be converted into a Landmark Cinemas venue. “It should be open by the end of the year in December,” and before Christmas, developer Lou Mikhail said. The theatre officially closed coming out of Covid in early 2022 when it had already been shuttered due to government health restrictions. Landmark Cinemas, owned by Belgium’s Kinepolis Group NV, is Canada’s second largest theatre chain after Cineplex, which operated Silver City for some two decades. Based in Calgary it operates 36 theatres in western Canada and Ontario. Mikhail’s JBM Capital Inc. acquired the Silver City property before the closure and owns other commercial in the immediate area, including the currently vacant PetSmart store. Mikhail said the city received incentives to help with the redevelopment, the cost of which he could not indicate. “The city has been very good with us.” While there were nearly 3000 seats in the former complex Mikhail said Landmark is remaking the “viewing area” with fewer but larger and more comfortable seating. The Mikhails were concerned that without a theatre other nearby businesses including restaurants could close. None of that has occurred. As for the PetSmart building "we’ve gotten a lot of interest in what the old PetSmart so we’re closer to doing a deal there.” Lou and brother Joe hope to develop a separate 12,000 sq. ft. property “next to the theatre” for a medical centre. “It’s in the planning stages.”

Group asks Detroit House of Comedy to "reconsider" comic Amanda Seales

AE - Amanda Seales June 20 2024

The Detroit House of Comedy is being asked by a group opposing anti-Semitism to "reconsider" its booking of a comic they say spews anti-Jewish and pro-terrorist rhetoric. Amanda Seales is schedule to play the downtown venue this weekend. In a letter the #EndJewHatred movement says Seales “has a history of making inflammatory and divisive statements.” It says she “openly praised” Hamas after the Oct. 7 unprovoked attack on Israel. She has also “promoted” campus anti-Israel tent encampments which have “promoted hostility and violence against Jewish students.” And, more recently, she took to video to “mock” the recent Israeli mission that rescued four hostages imprisoned in Gaza. She shared a tweet, “Speaking for myself only. But if I ever get taken hostage, and the only way to free me is by killing hundreds to thousands of civilians, just leave me.” But, says the group protesting her appearance, “many of these civilians knew of the hideout where the hostages were being captive, and even went to great lengths to aid and abet the Hamas terrorists.” The group says Seales agrees with “the debunked narrative that Israel embraces 'white supremacy' and that the modern African American civil rights movement parallels the Palestinian cause.” #EndJewHatred asks House of Comedy to “reconsider” hosting an entertainer “who openly promotes conspiracy theories, demonizes the Jewish state and defends terrorism.” And while it agrees “comedy can be provocative” there’s a “fine line between pushing boundaries and perpetuating harmful ideologies.” WON has contacted House of Comedy for comment.

Jewish Film Festival is on the horizon 

ENT Cap Theatre June 12 2024

This year’s Windsor Jewish Film Festival is on the horizon, with the opening feature The Catskills kicking it off next Monday night. It will be followed by nine films over the next three days. The Catskills, helmed by director Lex Gillespie, tells the story of the famous Jewish resorts in upper New York State during their heyday in the 1950s and 60s. The fest's main schedule gets underway Tuesday with Sabotage, the unknown story of a women’s underground operation at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Then the film Listen, more than appropriate for our time, is the story of a young Israeli soldier who searches to find her captured colleague in Gaza. That evening the film Syndrome K, narrated by Ray Liotta, depicts an incredible episode where Italian doctors rescued Jews during the Holocaust by inventing a fictitious disease that kept the Nazis at bay. On Wednesday there's the Toronto-set musical Less Than Kosher, where a “wayward singer's life takes a divinely uproarious turn when she lands a cantor gig in her family's synagogue, sparking self-discovery, family mishigas, and unholy chaos.” Also screening that day is The Man in the Basement, a contemporary take on how antisemitism inadvertently affected one family. Later Running on Sand is about a young Eritrean refugee living in Israel and who disguises himself as a famous soccer player. Thursday also sees three films: The Story of Annette Zelman, a WW II story of star-crossed lovers of different religions and based on real events. Home depicts the challenges of an Orthodox man’s professional dream which is perceived as a threat to his ultra-Orthodox community. Finally, The Narrow Bridge is about the friendship between Israeli and Palestinian people united, having “lost a child or parent in violent conflict, transform their grief into a bridge for reconciliation.” Films are at the Capitol Theatre and tickets are now available on line.

Kingsville's Rick Stephenson is up for awards as Frank Sinatra tribute artist

AE - Rick Stephenson Ol Blue Eyes May 29 2024

Kingsville’s Rick Stephenson has always had a thing for Frank Sinatra and other musical greats of the Big Band era. A professionally trained trombone player, as a kid he listened to Stan Kenton and Tommy Dorsey and played in a big band at age 15. It’s been a 40-year loving musical journey since. Wife and manager Cathy says Rick has always considered Ol Blue Eyes “his mentor.” The Chairman’s vocal phrasing “has allowed Rick to recreate the same intimacy Sinatra created with his audience.” Rick has such an affinity to his mentor that back in the 90s he travelled to Sinatra’s Beverly Hills home, dropping off his CD From One Blue Eyes to Another. Cathy says among Rick’s favourite songs are Only the Lonely and I'm A Fool to Want You “because they are both so emotionally charged.” A former resident of Orillia Rick and family moved to Kinsgville seven years ago. The community has embraced him. “Last year for Father's Day our eldest daughter arranged with the Kingsville BIA to play his music for the day,” Cathy says. “There was a great video taken of the moment Rick realizes it is him playing out of the speakers on the four corners of Kingsville.” Rick also travelled last year to Sinatra’s hometown of Hoboken NJ performing there and in New York City. Locally, Rick has performed with many local bands. He’s currently finishing up his new album Singing for Sinatra at Windsor’s SLR Studios. Music journalist John Swartz called Rick’s voice “as dead on as it can get, and he has the same unique phrasing Sinatra did.” The new album departs from some of the old standards and features songs Sinatra would have performed “given the chance.” Meanwhile the vocalist has been nominated a second time for this year’s Josie Music Awards in Nashville for Tribute Artist of the Year. He’s also up for Vocalist of the Year.

You can purchase your own DCleat

AE - DCleated May 1 2024

One there was Car Tines on Parade, dozens of car-shaped sculptures by local artists to benefit local causes. Taking its cue from Toronto’s moose and Chicago’s cows art projects – and combining themes of Motor City music and automobiles - that was almost 20 years ago! Now there is DCleated. And while the sculptures never showed up on the Windsor side of the river many Canadians may have seen them in and around Detroit during last week’s NFL Draft. The DCleated sculptures are of, yes, football, cleats. Made by Detroit artists each one is unique. They measure more than five feet in height and 30 inches square, weighing 125 lbs. Now they’ve been disassembled. And you could own one of them! The art works also raised money for a specific cause. “Each passionate artist sees the cleat as canvases to tell stories and spread awareness for a cause,” Pop Art Studios, which commissioned them, says. “Each design reflects the artist's vision and what they passionately advocate for.” The highly colorful cleats would male a good addition to any public space - especially athletic - sports bar or mother of all home sports dens. Bidding is taking place now and has been extended to 11.30 pm on May 8. The online auction is being sponsored by Visit Detroit tourist board and Detroit Sports Commission.

Kingsville music festival will feature high energy folk, reggae and jazz

AE - My Son the Hurricane KV music fest 2024 April 15 2024

Toronto-based – but Windsor-founded – international recording artists Elliott Brood headline this year’s very popular Kingsville Music Festival Aug. 9 – 11 in Mettawas Park. The group, headed by Mark Sasso and Casey Laforet, has more than a dozen albums and EPs and several singles, is alternately described as “frontier rock” and “death country.” Also headlining is the high energy multi-horn multi drum and multi singer funk band from Niagara My Son the Hurricane (photo). The band, which has sold out more than 45 shows and played some of the top international festivals, features 12 musicians and dancers, along with multiple instruments like trumpets, saxophones, trombones and a “wild front woman." This is the Kingsville event’s 10th year and will feature an “eclectic blend of musical genres including folk, rock, country, reggae, and jazz,” according to co-founder Michele Law, a musician herself with husband John. The festival makes a significant cultural splash in southwestern Ontario, which has not had a lot of multiday festivals but this has put the region on the concert map. “The acts we have are all really fun and suitable for all ages,” Law says. “My Son the Hurricane will close the show Friday and Saturday night and will have us all dancing under the stars.” An amazing array of talent, mostly Canadian, will be on hand including Valerie Ekoume with her AfroPop style, harmonica player from Sarnia Mike Stevens, Jamaican-born raggae singer Ammoye, Montreal-based RedFox Band with their high energy, ambient and folk-infused sound, and rockabilly and honky tonk crooner Nicholas Campbell. There are 16 acts altogether. The not for profit festival raises money for the MAY Fund, providing music scholarships for area youth. There will be three daytime stages at the waterfront park as well as an evening main stage. “Accommodation options span from rustic camping to luxurious pampering, catering to every attendee's desire for an immersive experience,” Law says. Weekend passes are available. Festival details and tickets at

Windsor filmmaker's doc about S. Korean ferry sinking now online

AE - Reset film by Min Bae March 30 2024

After screening at last fall's WIFF and at a few other film festivals Windsor director Min Bae will see his film Reset shown later this year at the Madrid Indie Film Festival. Bae, a University of Windsor professor of film production, returns to his former home of South Korea with his new film, about the tragic mass death of mostly young people on an ill-advised ferry voyage 10 years ago off the shores of that country. Many will remember the news stories. On April 16th that year the Sewol Ferry sank, taking with it the lives of 304 of its 476 passengers. The victims were mainly high school students. They died, ironically, after being told to remain in their cabins rather than abandon ship. "South Korea’s worst maritime disaster traumatized a nation while simultaneously sinking the country’s emotional spirit," a synopsis of the film says. After "impassioned protest" public pressure forced the government to eventually raise the ship. The film asks: "why the rescue of our children and people was neglected on the fateful day the Sewol sank." The movie's closest screening to Windsor near term will be April 6, 7 pm at University of Toronto's Innis Hall. "I think another screening is planned for Windsor," he told WON. "I will keep you posted." Meanwhile the 90-minute film by his production company Cactus Pictures is available on Apple TV, Google Play, Youtube Movies and Amazon Prime. Bae has been working in film since 1990, studying in Korea, France and Montreal. He has collaborated on several award-winning independent films:  Situation (1995), Off Sync (2000), Where are we (2004), Two Islands (2007), and the recent experimental film Qausuittuq (Summer 2020) presented/recognized in festivals worldwide.

New digital arts centre kicking off Phase 2 renos with April themed event

AE - Where Film Meets Art March 11 2024

A major fundraising event is taking place April 27 for  the new Centre for Film, Digital Media and Creative Arts. The event takes place at the centre’s new home, the former Downtown Mission  or Temple Baptist Church at 664 Victoria Ave. downtown. The event, taking place 7 - 11.30 pm, will have themes like Horror, Period Drama and SciFi Fantasy. Dubbed the 1st Annual Celebration of the Arts, with tickets priced at $70, the money will go to renovate the building to create this new educational and exhibit space primarily focussed on filmmaking. It's the long time vision of Amanda Gellman, who also co-chairs the Centre with Leona MacIntytre. "We are seeking both sponsors and ticket buyers," Gellman says. "Every dollar raised is matched by the government." The centre, a labour of love, has also been a work in progress. Phase one of renos totalled $1.3 million. Work includes interior demolition and "stabilization" of structural elements. The end result in part is to create a "multipurpose gathering space" for arts exhibits. The overall centre will be 22,000 sq. ft. The centre's goal is to develop local talent primarily in filmmaking and digital arts; no other centre in the city quite fulfills this role.  "It will also have indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for creative minds to meet and begin new projects. Low cost studio space, editing suites, and equipment will be rentable,” Gellman said. Gellman and MacIntye have chosen film because it is "the only art that encompasses all other arts." The centre's objective isn't just to train filmmakers and create art per se - though that’s it's primary goal - it’s also to add to the "creative economy" by creating jobs in the arts marketplace. The centre will be open to anyone and studios will be used for any manner of filmmaking or digital production,  including for corporate videos and commercial websites. "It is a win-win for the entire region," Gellman says.

Richard II a gay Studio 54 glitter ball

AE - Richard II disco February 12 2024

Richard II has been “reimagined in the 20th century, during a period when culture clash gave way to dizzying freedom for the queer community.” So describes Canada’s Stratford Festival in offering the company’s dynamic play by the same name to home viewers on Stratford@home, its streaming service. The “disco era” production was commissioned by festival director and University of Windsor graduate Antoni Cimolino. This modern version “takes us into the glamorous and gritty world of Studio 54, at its thrilling heights in the late 1970s to early '80s – replete with glittering costumes, erotic bathhouse scenes and a dancing chorus of winged angels.” Cimolino says even though updated it’s a version that “would have made Shakespeare delighted.” Underneath the glitter, however, it’s still a play about hard nosed politics, corruption and human failure. Meanwhile Windsor’s Cimolino directed a play about another Richard – III – also streaming on the festival website and starring one of Canada’s top actors Colm Feore. It’s a natural for the big or small screen. "Shakespeare's work is very cinematic in its structure and this play, with its ruthless, cunning and charismatic protagonist, translates brilliantly to the big screen," Cimolino says. “When you combine the brilliant and iconic Shakespeare prose with the unbridled power of Colm Feore, the result is pure cinematic bliss," says film director Barry Avrich, a play about cunning and ruthless ambition. The play, says Cimolino, is a “subversive indictment of tyranny, revealing the tricks used to deceive and manipulate."

You'll be hearing less talk & more (Detroit) music, on WDET-FM

AE - WDET microphone January 25 2024

WDET-FM 101.9 is putting a new emphasis on music – with a distinct Detroit flavour – when a host of program changes takes effect Feb. 5. And a longtime former overnight DJ is coming back. The changes reflect a survey that found listeners “overwhelmingly” listen to the Wayne State University station “to discover the vibrant music and stories that make Detroit unique. They are less interested in repeats of national programming that they can access elsewhere.” Long time talk shows like Detroit Today and Culture Shift are giving way to fresh daytime programs with some of the same voices. But afternoons from Noon-3 pm will be turned over to In The Groove hosted by Ryan Patrick Hooper,  featuring independent music. Meanwhile, evenings will see a slate of new music shows. Liz Warner, formerly Liz Copeland, hosts Alternate Take, Thursday 8–10 pm, “exploring music that has impacted and continues to influence the city’s creative community.” She last broadcast overnight on the station in 2007. Mondays in the same time slot will see Visions with jazz musician and Kresge artist fellow Kaleigh Wilder. On Tuesdays it will be The Detroit Move with Detroit garage rock drummer Mike Latulippe. He’ll be followed by MI Local, a hometown music show hosted by veteran music journalist and frequent former Culture Shift guest Jeff Milo, 9-10 pm. Other additions: The Blvd with Waajeed as dance music producer DJ Waajeed spins techno, house and other forms of electronic music 8-10 p.m. Wednesdays. And The New Music Show with Shigeto, with Hamtramck based drummer and electronic music producer Shigeto, runs 8-10 p.m. Saturdays. Current music shows such as those hosted by Ann Delisi, Rob Reinhart, John Mosher and Ed Love, remain as part of the lineup. Meanwhile mornings have new talk shows - Created Equal weekdays 9 am repeated 7 pm and The Metro 11 am–noon repeated 10 pm. The changes also celebrate the public radio station’s 75th anniversary a week later.

'Taboo' chronicles life of Detroit nightclub entrepreneur Nino Cutraro

AE - Taboo book January 12 2024

A new book highlights the amazing nightclub scene that was once part of Detroit’s music and cultural world. Taboo by Detroit-based writer RJ King tells the story of the man behind them, Nino Cutraro, whose clubs were frequented by A-list personalities from home and abroad. These include James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Prince, Joe Cocker, Wilson Picket, Robert Palmer, KISS, Alice Cooper, Vanessa Williams. Cutraro was behind such well known clubs and restaurants as Taboo, Metropolitan Music Café, La Notte, Intermezzo, Mare Mediterranean, and Bella Piatti. These were on par with those of New York and LA, attracting some of the biggest names from sports, movies, music, and politics. King takes the reader on a journey through Cutraro’s life, from his arrival from Sicily – with mere dollars in his pocket - to the building of his hospitality empire. “The book sheds light on Cutraro's relentless pursuit of excellence and his unwavering commitment to create an ambiance that was trendy, chic, allured a star-studded clientele, and provided the epitome of nightlife experience,” a release says. It also features contributions by well-known personalities such as movie director Michael Bay and TV’s Devin Scillian. The book reveals the historic moment James Brown, "The Godfather of Soul," and Aretha Franklin, "The Queen of Soul," shared the stage for the first time. King himself is a well-known Detroit journalist and author, editing DBusiness, a Detroit News writer for almost two decades and the author of six books. Why this book? “Through the life story of entrepreneur and club and restaurant owner Nino Cutraro, I was drawn to the long list of A-list entertainers, athletes, and famous people that patronized and enjoyed his establishments,” he told WON. “Taboo was even better than Studio 54 in New York City in that it drew all the stars of the day,” King says there’s “no place like Detroit,” the oldest city in the Midwest, an industrial powerhouse for over a century and a vast ethic melting pot. “And the populace, dating back six generations or more, are among the smartest, innovative, and successful people you will ever meet.” Taboo can be purchased online at

A book that describes the highs and lows of working on the assembly line

AE - Fordmates Dec 7 2023

A lot of workers in Windsor and Essex County will be able to identify with the characters in a new book, Fordmates by London-based author Ivo Moravec, a one-time assembler at the now defunct Ford plant in Talbotville. It’s rare for a book of fiction (short stores) to focus on the daily regimen of manufacturing workers but this does it in a way that captures the experience of line workers – the highs, the lows, the drudgery and boredom and the collegiality of shared work experience. Moravec, a Czech native (pictured with book) who defected to the West and author of a previous book, Tightrope Passage: Along the Refugee Route to Canada, worked 21 years assembling Crown Vics and Mercury Grand Marquises. As per the book’s description: “The stories in Fordmates ricochet headlong between comedy and tragedy, balancing the tedium and gruelling demands of the automotive assembly line with the workers’ gutsy attempts to preserve spirits and some semblance of sanity.” Moravec told that consumers buy cars as a finished product “yet few people know how and by whom they are made.” As a writer he said a plant that employs 4000 people is a “rich vein of colourful and unusual characters and events: What happens when assembly line meets opera? Can a robot go insane? What’s the best way to hunt a rattlesnake on the loose in the plant?” Personally, he said the worst part of line work is injuries like repetitive strains and “you can’t get relief because the supervisor doesn’t have a fresh body to replace you.” This is captured by one character Sandro who is sub-assembling steering boxes. Enclosed for safety he “resented the way it made him feel like a placid horse inside a corral. He couldn’t just eat when he was hungry.” But, says the author, the “high point” is that he eventually worked on automatic pilot and “my mind was free to write the best pages” of the book. Individual stories have names like The Greenhorn, The Hunting Forklifts, From Buzzer to Buzzer and The Body and the Underbody.


The book, Fordmates, published by The Porcupine’s Quill, is available at IndigoChapters and on Amazon. A great Christmas gift for a line worker or retiree in your family.

For The Tenors, performing at Caesars Windsor is a little like coming home

AE - The Tenors Xmas album Nov 22 2023

The Tenors are coming back to town and just in time for Christmas with their new songs Miracle and Christmas Miracle along with classics like The Prayer, Nessun Dorma, Forever Young and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. They will blow (or should that be snow?) into the city for a concert Dec. 14 at Caesars Windsor. The group, formerly known as The Canadian Tenors, have played Windsor in the past with the city almost becoming a second home, especially at Christmas time. “They are one of the most played bands at Caesars over 15 years,” says group spokesman Jeffrey Latimer. “They are a staple at Christmas. And the guys shot one of their PBS Christmas specials at Windsor, that aired all over America.” The group recently added international recording artist Mark Masri and “the most celebrated new voice” from Italy in a generation, winner of the country’s top Amici TV competition, Alberto Urso. They join Victor Micallef and Clifton Murray, who have been at the heart of the group for over a decade. And did we tell you they’re all tenors? The group reimagines iconic hits and blends classical music, contemporary and classic rock and folk, and their own material of course. Their repertoire is in several languages including English, French, Spanish and Italian. Latimer says the audience can expect a fun-filled show. “Classic Christmas songs as well as really fun medleys, well-known songs they also each do a solo which is really wonderful and there is a lot of storytelling and humour.” The concert runs two hours. The Tenors have shared the stage with a wide number of musical elite such as Justin Bieber, Paul Anka, Paul McCartney and Natalie Cole. Audiences love them; they often get several standing ovations a night.

 WIFF may be over but another film festival is just kicking off in Windsor

ENT Cap Theatre Nov 8 2023

It’s now Windsor’s fall film festival season. With the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) closing out 11 days Sunday night for its 19th season, the Media City international film festival kicks off its Windsor screenings this evening with a party at the Capitol Theatre. The festival runs until Nov. 11 and this is the first time it’s schedule directly follows WIFF’s. Media City has actually been around longer than WIFF – 26 years. It’s largely an experimental or avant-garde fest and attracts a smaller niche audience. But by international standards it’s an important event. This year some 60 cineastes and others will be attending from Europe, Asia and South America. Media City screens films in both Windsor and Detroit but is centred around Windsor’s Capitol Theatre, as is WIFF. After the opening party tonight the festival will show a retrospective of Argentinian director Narcisa Hirsch’s films. “Hirsch has spent seven decades as one of the foremost figures of the South American avant-garde,” the festival, long headed by Oona Mosna, says. The screening features rare films “never before screened outside of Argentina.” Some 70 films will be screened in the festival altogether. The festival is underwritten to the tune of more than $200,000 in provincial and federal funding. Media City’s guide is 120 pages. A full festival pass is $30 CAD and single tickets are “pay what you like.”

Two Quebec filmmakers capture top Windsor Intl Film Festival awards Nov. 7 2023

Perhaps reflecting our current times, Irena’s Vow won the 2023 LiUNA People's Choice Award at the recently finished Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF). (LiUNA stands for Laborers' International Union of North America, a longtime festival sponsor). Directed by Canadian Louise Archambault, and based on a play by Dan Gordon, the film is about a Polish nurse who aided Jewish people during the Holocaust. Ironically she hid them in the cellar of the very house where she was employed as a housekeeper by a Nazi officer. The movie was mainly shot in Lublin near the Ukrainian border. This is the second time Archambault has won a WIFF People’s Choice Award, the first in 2013 for Gabrielle, about a young developmentally disabled woman who develops a romantic relationship with her choirmate. Archambault is also the first director to have two films nominated for another major WIFF award, its Best Canadian Film, for this movie and for One Summer. WIFF wrapped up 11 days of programming Sunday, marking its 19th year as the festival grows and grows. It had its largest offerings yet: 186 features and 38 shorts. The WIFF Prize in Canadian Film went to Ariane Louis-Seize’s Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person. The comedy-drama is about a teen vampire who has moral qualms about attacking people for their blood. And the WIFF Spotlight Award went to Canadian director Philippe Falardeau.

New exhibits unveiled but no finish date yet for Motown Museum expansion

AE - Motown Museum expansion October 21, 2023

As the Temptations sang “Get Ready,” it’s time for the public to get ready for a couple of immersive exhibits in an expanded Detroit Motown Museum. Motown Museum CEO Robin Terry was teasing the media and fundraisers about the interactive exhibits, which will be included in the entirely new wing of the museum, a set of one-time family houses converted to studios, located on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. When the building opens the exhibits will put visitors in “the room where it happened,” Terry told an audience including members of the famed Four Tops and Temptations. One exhibit, The Motown Atmosphere, will take viewers behind the stage to the daily lives of Motown greats. Says The Detroit News, a “curated collection of images shows legends interacting with one another at Hitsville and in their daily lives, allowing fans to see their favorite Motown stars up close and hear their story.” Hitsville USA is another name for Motown and the sign emblazons one of the historic buildings. The second exhibit, The Backstage Lounge, will allow visitors to search the music catalogue and see exclusive interviews with the stars, talking about the stories behind the songs. Terry’s announcement was part of an update on fundraising for the museum’s expansion, a sleek new building being constructed behind the existing houses – connected by a pedestrian mall - that will host new events and studio spaces, exhibits and expanded retail. Some $59 million has been raised towards the $65 million cost, which jumped from $55 million due to an increase in construction materials. No completion date has been set and Terry said progress has been slowed by environmental approvals. “Our original plan was to be under full construction on the final phase of the expansion this summer,” she said. The expansion was announced in 2016 and will bring the museum from 10,000 to 50,000 sq. ft.

Image: Motown Museum

Several music festivals, CJAM radio, among Round II city arts funding 

AE - City arts grants 2 - 2023 October 9 2023

Several music festivals, among other groups, are slated to receive $59,000 funding from the second round of city arts grants. Requests amounted to almost $100,000. These are MusicFest Windsor for programs and audio engineering ($4000), Soul City and 4th Wall for artists fees and recording ($2500), the Windsor Choral Festival for artist fees and music scores ($2500), 4th Wall Music’s Concert Series celebrating choral music ($2000), the Greater Windsor Concert Band Family Concert Series venue rental ($800). Meanwhile CJAM 99.1 FM, the University of Windsor’s radio station, will get $1500 for artist fees for a 40th anniversary celebration event. Three theatre groups are earmarked for dollars. The Windsor Feminist Theatre for The Yellow Wallpaper, a book adaptation for a new play ($2500), The Riverfront Theater Co. funding for sign language interpreters for two plays ($1680), and Revolution Youth Theatre for artists fees ($1000). Ethnic groups received funding. The Black Historical Research Society will get $5000 for the Mary Ann Shadd Bicentennial Celebration, the Salam Project $4000, Gujarti Samaj of Windsor for Unision of Tunes celebrating art, music and food ($2500), Bhutanese association promoting Nepali arts for art, music and food events ($2500) and Luc Michaud’s EP of French music ($2000). Other recipients: Jeff Denomme’s Haunted Zoo Children’s Book ($3750), Jennifer Willett’s art & performance FE Meeting at Night ($3000), Windsor Dance’s A Christmas Charol ($3000), Ken Amlin’s feature film ($3000), Karl Jirgens Sandwich Town: A History book ($2600), Jill Moysiuk’s live comedy show ($2575), Sarah Smitherman’s book on Ojibway’s flowering plants ($2445), Barry T. Brodie’s Reframed for a visual, literary and performing arts event ($2400), Stephen Drouin Community Economics ($1000) and Anthony Cardillo Open Noise Showcase ($750).

Stratford moving out of comfort zone

AE - Antoni Cimolino Sept. 25 2023

The Stratford Festival is moving out of its comfort zone, and perhaps yours. The festival’s 2024 theme is “A World Elsewhere,” with 12 plays and more than 150 events through its Meighen Forum, featuring lectures or discussions. “What unites the plays for next season is a journey away from the known," says artistic director Antoni Cimolino (photo), the University of Windsor graduate. "A journey away from the comfortable towards something that – while it's an immense challenge – often brings us to a much better place." Three Shakespearean plays are on tap - Romeo and JulietTwelfth Night and Cymbeline. An early Victorian comedy London Assurance by Dion Boucicault and the Henrik Ibsen masterpiece Hedda Gabler will be staged. The festival will present the North American première of Wendy and Peter Pan, an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic book by Ella Hickson. US playwright Edward Albee's 21st century classic The Goat or Who is Sylvia? will also be under the lights. “As I put together this new season, I looked for works that speak to departing from the past, stories about people who strike out in new directions," Cimolino in a release. "I feel we are at a moment in society when we are genuinely ready to leave behind much of what was.” Also on stage will be three world premieres:  Salesman in China by Leanna Brodie and Jovanni Sy; a new adaptation of Margaret Laurence's classic The Diviners by Vern Thiessen with Yvette Nolan, and Get That Hope by Andrea Scott.

Coming to Windsor, opera, without snobbery, like you've never seen it 

AE - Ruckus on the Road opera Sept. 11 2023

It’s opera like you’ve never seen it before. And it’s coming to Windsor this fall. Opera may be a great art form but it also comes with, well, attitudes like snobbery. Ruckus! On the Road, a Toronto-based company, is anything but. Cynthia Amsden, its spokeswoman, said the offbeat impresarios created the revue as the antithesis of everything people hate about opera – “it’s expensive, you have to dress up, it’s snobby, you can’t drink, except during intermission, you can’t talk, it’s snobby, you can’t get up and move around, and it’s snobby.” And, most of all, you don’t have to know anything about opera to attend. “Come in blind! Opera should be accessible to everyone, and we make sure that this show requires no previous knowledge about the art form,” says Amsden. You won’t be sitting through a four hour opera in a foreign language with a complicated story. “We are here to give you a taste of everything. From gorgeous, heartbreaking Puccini and Verdi to comedic contemporary pieces (Country Singer meets Opera Star, anyone?) to - dare we say it - ABBA.” In fact, it’s a great intro to opera and “leads a lot of our new audiences to explore traditional operas afterwards.” And forget being sedate. “Our audiences tend to hoot and holler! And we love it. This is not the kind of opera where you are afraid to cough, or unwrap a candy loudly, in fact, we have a strict no-shushing policy!” Amsden says. But even knowledgeable opera goers should like it. They “get a unique, new way to experience the music.” What to expect? “Audiences can expect to see a whole range of opera bangers mixed with fun, comedic pieces, meant to keep you on your toes.” There are four professional singers, a killer piano player, surprise guests, and an appearance by Windsor's own Abridged Opera Company. The revue takes place Nov. 17 at the Capitol Theatre.

Photo: Ruckus! On the Road

'Gentle Giant,' Allesandro Rotondi's latest album, now being recorded 

AE - Allesandro Rotondi August 24, 2023

Allesandro Rotondi is young – well, 26 now – but he's accomplished a lot. The Windsor-born musician, who's a multi-instrumentalist, has been playing music since he was five. He grew up in a musical family, his dad Moe Rotondi, has had a Kiss tribute band, Destroyer, and played across Canada at venues like the CNE and Calgary Stampede. Allesandro is now recording his latest album, Gentle Giant, due out this year or early next and available on most streaming services. Rotondi's sound may be described as enchanting acoustic harmonies swathed in strings. As a kid he started out playing drums, subbing in his dad's band. Then moved to guitar which is his main instrument. "But I love to dabble in everything. I play piano. I love ukulele, harmonica," he says. "Basically, anything I can get my hands on I love to learn it to a playable degree." He studied jazz guitar at the University of Windsor. He went to teachers' college and now works as a substitute teacher. He would like to teach music someday. He performs weekends at events and private gatherings and otherwise spends time composing. His influences have been classic rock like The Beatles, Elton John and The Beach Boys, the last perhaps more influential in terms of the Rotondi's multilayered sound. "I always love the thought of orchestration and beautiful melodies – harmony especially - I used to have a lot of harmony with the group I was in Midnight Metro where we would do a lot of vocal stacking and things like that." Learning to play piano creates "these pretty wide washes of musical sound and colour." This is far from Rotondi's first recording – in 2019 he recorded Around You, and two original albums with Midnight Metro. One of his favourite songs is Constellation. In university he recorded a reimagined version of a Beach Boys song, which he presented to Brian Wilson at Caesars Windsor. And he's recorded two EP's. But he's hoping Gentle Giant, assisted with $1000 funding from a City of Windsor arts grant, "will be a more official launch, if that makes sense."

Photo: Jeff Sanson

Windsor trumpeter Russ Macklem's September release party at Phog

AE - Russ Macklem August 14 2023

Windsor trumpeter Russ Macklem would love to play more jazz live in Windsor but opportunities are few. So he spends most of his time playing at historic Detroit jazz clubs and has a residency at Motor City Wine in Detroit. While there are “quite a number” of people locally who play jazz, live gigs are very limited. “There used to be a lot more musicians who’d come over from Detroit,” as well, Macklem, who teaches music sessionally at the University of Windsor, says. “It’s sort of mostly evaporated.” Consequently professional musicians have to go stateside. “Those of us that do exist here, you know, most of us have a work visa and work over in Detroit.” Macklem has played at Phog Lounge and the Dominion House, however. Phog has a “perfect sounding room” for a quintet with “live and dead sound balance,” perfect for a recording. But regular gigs aren’t “really possible because you’re not going to constantly gain the interest of people to come out every week.” Macklem received $1000 to cut an album, The South Detroit Collective (aka Windsor), which will be out this fall, from the City of Windsor arts grants program. It will be original compositions. “It’s all my music,” he says. His influences? Seminal trumpeter Miles Davis is “one of my greatest.” Another influence is Canadian Kenny Wheeler and another “who just left us,” saxophonist Wayne Shorter. And then there are the “many greats” in Detroit, including the late Marcus Belgrave. (His son, “a phenom of his own,” Kahil El’Zabar, a multi-instrumentalist, is on the album.) Macklem’s jazz includes “other musical traditions.” While “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” he chuckles, he makes music to be “pastoral and try to tell the story of my life.” The album will have a release party two nights at Phog Lounge Sept. 21 and 22.

Diva Diana returning to Caesars Windsor with Musician Legacy Tour

AE - Diana Ross July 27 2023

Diana Ross, one of the most acclaimed divas of our era, is coming to Caesars Windsor this September. Tickets are still available for the Sept. 8 performance. Ross last performed at The Colosseum in 2015 and a billboard with her image has adorned the casino for years, almost as if adopting the home grown (Detroit) talent as its own. Ross, of course was leader of Motown Records' premiere female vocal group The Supremes with such iconic hits as “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Come See About Me,” and “Baby Love.” The Detroit girl, who grew up in the Brewster Projects less than five miles from downtown Windsor, will visit Windsor as part of her The Musician Legacy Tour 2023. The Revue features four backup singers and a 10-piece band. The 79-year-old, besides performing her standards, also has some new songs which have wowed crowds. These include "Tomorrow" from 2021’s “Thank you” album, her first since 2006. She delivered the song “with infectious verve and energy,” The San Diego Times-Union wrote. “Ross sounded thoroughly engaged with the song, whose release came seven decades after she made her recording debut with “I Want a Guy." “Guy” was her first single with The Supremes in 1961. Ross's latest album is the 25th of her career. In that concert the diva took the stage after a six minute film showing her rise from those very Brewster housing projects to maga stardom. Besides The Supremes she has performed with an array of talent such as Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. And true Supremes fans will look forward to likely singalongs! As for her performance in San Diego her “thin and wispy” voice “has retained much of its girlish lilt, while her personality and charisma enabled her to largely hold her own,” the reviewer wrote. Last year Ross headlined the world’s biggest music festival, Glastonbury, in England, with the festival’s most viewed performance ever. The legend appears to still have it in her.

Jazz it up in Windsor's city parks 

AE - Jazz in the Park July 14 2023

A little jazz has come to Windsor parks this summer. The Jazz in the Parks series kicked off this past week in Lanspeary Park. But don’t despair, there are still three more concerts before the summer blows out. And they’re free. The next one is at Mary Bibb Park behind Mackenzie Hall July 26 from 6-9 pm featuring Mike Karloff and Friends. The next is Aug 2 at Wigle Park featuring The New Standard. And the third is Aug. 16 at Willistead Park with Austin DiPietro and Friends. The program received almost $5000 through city arts funding. The jazz series is rather novel in a town known for music but not especially live jazz. “It kind of brings it to the forefront,” says producer Kristen Siapis, who’s an independent artist and producer and otherwise oversees the front office for the University of Windsor Players. “There’s different opportunities for people to perform in different places, and we’ve seen cover bands will play festivals or we have acoustic acts that will play Taloola (Café) or whatever but there really isn’t a spot, like we don’t have a jazz club. So this kind of promotes that style of music that we don’t always see.” Siapas has looked at the city’s great park venues and figured they would be ideal for jazz just as they are for other live music. “It’s just another way of enhancing the public spaces that we have,” she said. “It’s just such a beautiful accessible way to connect people with art. And it’s funded by a (city grant). To me that’s what the public dollars are for, that we’re using this to bring art to people that might not necessarily have access to it." She said a pilot concert was done at Lanspeary last year and it really energized the community. “The beautiful thing that happened is that the music starts streaming out across the park and people come out of their houses, people who are walking by will come in and see what’s going on, they’ll come and listen to the music." 

First ever art show featuring work of Windsor's homeless population

LT - Homeless art June 27 2023

A first of its kind art exhibition featuring work from the city’s homeless population will be on display at Artspeak Gallery in mid to late August. The exhibition, running August 13 – 30, in the gallery affiliated with the local arts council, is being organized by Batool Yahya, an artist who herself has experienced homelessness. Yahya, who has “struggled with substance abuse and not having a permanent place to stay,” began working with the city’s homeless, particularly at the H4 (Homelessness and Housing Help Hub) in the former Windsor Water World building downtown. “I found that there was a lot of hidden talent among the homeless community,” she said. She says homeless people are marginalized in a myriad ways including the public thinking they might not have creative talent “just because they’re living a different life than we are.” Some of the work is outstanding, including surrealism representative of Salvador Dali. “There’s a lot of graffiti work which I think is very impressive and speaks to homelessness as an idea,” Yahya said. One person uses art to depict inner voices or “demons.” An example of the kind of work to be on display is exquisite pencil drawings (pictured). At least 10 artists are taking part and the works will be for sale.  “I’m just really excited to emphasize voices that are otherwise hidden,” she says. For confidentiality  reasons the artists are unnamed. Yahya was awarded $1080 by the city arts fund to pay for exhibition rental space as well as art supplies. Artspoeak is located at 1942 Wyandotte St. E.

With prequel, Matt Bhanks' adds a new dimension to Master Defenders series 

AE - Master Defenders June 12 2023

The many fans of Windsor sci-fi novelist Matt Bhanks no doubt will be happy to hear that the latest addition to the Master Defenders series will be a film prequel. Over the past decade Bhanks has written four Master Defenders books that have caught the imagination of a wide assortment of people – from adults to school children, even Hollywood actor Billy Dee Williams. The series has captivated readers with the story of a group of super heroes who join together to prevent worldwide catastrophe. The plot revolves around Pixaliemain, space rocks that could wreck plague-like havoc if humans come in contact. A group of dastardly villains, Pixalians from the planet Star-Pix, wants to unleash them. But the extraordinary defenders of the Alien Investigative Agency (AIA) must work against time to stop them. And there are lots of conflicts and intrigue along the way. Bhanks, also an entrepreneur, has sold the books far and wide and is well known at ComiCon conventions and often invited to speak before school groups. The film, called Master Defenders Altered Alliances (MDAA), is set five years before the first book, and focusses on several characters, played by well-known local actors Shane Nelson as Curtis Kareem and Boris Gatackic as Ian Hall. Brent Bondy and Kiarra McLellan also star. “We’ve already filmed quite a lot,” Bhanks says. ”I’m hoping that it (the film) will be available this year.” Bhanks is blown-over by the talent in Windsor. “I’ve seen all kinds of amazing people who are just truly creative in what they do,” he says. The film, shot by local cinematographer Walter Riggi, will have many references to the four books. “I know fans are going to love it when they see these people,” Bhanks says. The film is produced by Bhanks’s company MB Realms Entertainment.

Local group bringing to Windsor a play on an immigrant child's experience 

AE - Dennis Foon playwright May 27 2023

Shō Studios s bringing renowned Canadian playwright Dennis Foon’s play about the immigrant experience, New Canadian Kid, to Windsor. The Walkerville based arts organization has obtained a $5000 arts grant from the City of Windsor and is seeking additional funding for a play that will largely appeal to elementary students. Calling it a “great little play” Shō’s president Lorraine Steele says she’s in the process of getting local schools on board. “We think grade 4 is a good age” to view it, she says. “We’re fundraising for that play so that we can offer it to the school children at a relatively low ticket cost.” Foon (photo) was born in Detroit but has long made his home in British Columbia. He is the recipient of numerous global arts awards and has a specialty in writing stories of themes related to young people. He was co-founder of Vancouver’s Green Thumb children’s theatre. New Canadian Kid is considered one his most influential works and is about a young immigrant’s experience. “It’s a play that hopefully expands our empathy to other people,” Steele said. “It’s just as relevant today as it was when he wrote it maybe 25-30 years ago,” she says. ”To tell you the truth it’s more relevant today particularly in cities like Windsor where we have newcomers all the time.”


Song of the Nereid takes a novel approach to the subject of sexual abuse

AE - Nereid May 10 2023

Song of the Nereid is the latest production by the Three Friends Productions film company and will start shooting this summer in the Windsor and Sarnia areas. The production recently received a $3000 City of Windsor arts grant. The film is co-directed by Maria Belenkova-Buford and Lori Zozzolotto, who also wrote the script. The third member of Three Friends is Christine Hann, and the women rotate roles on different film projects. The short film is expected to be shown as this fall’s Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) and filmmakers hope it will be screened at other fests around the world. The theme is a novel take on a dark topic – sexual abuse. Employing the myth of mermaids – an interpretation of the Little Mermaid ferry tale as a nereid is a kind of mermaid – the story follows the story of a beautiful nereid’s kidnapping by an enamored man with god-like powers, thousands of miles away to where she’s imprisoned. Trying to win her love he builds a salt water pool not knowing that salt water empowers a nereid. We won’t give away the ending. But Zozzolotto, who honed her writing skills in one-act plays, says the theme is “entertaining and engaging and trying to discuss a tough topic in an interesting way.” A key scene will be shot at Windsor’s LaGuardia restaurant. When writing the film Zozzolotto says she discovered how much of a ”phenomena” mermaids are, with numerous mermaid festivals around the world. “I had no idea people were so obsessed with mermaids,” she says. Co-director Belenkova-Buford, treasurer at the Windsor area arts council and U of Windsor film production grad - who now has several short films under her belt since starting filmmaking only three years ago - says the topic is “serious” but dealt with in “an unusual way.” Her favourite part of filmmaking is “the teamwork, how everything comes together when the team is working smoothly.” The film's key role will be performed by Carol Ann Matus, an “up and coming actor” from the Toronto area. Anthony Zita, a recurring character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, also stars. Rounding out the cast is Bernard Applewhaite.

The Broadway Bunch is closest you'll come in Windsor to the real thing

AE - The Broadway Bunch April 26 2023

Get ready for Broadway-style music but also a Broadway style production in its fullest sense. It’s unique musical theatre that has been playing in Windsor for the last several years and set to resume this September. Known as The Broadway Bunch, producer and performer Kaitlyn Karns says the production is one of the few theatrical productions in the area that pays performers “where people are getting paid professional union rates,” both the musicians and the vocalists. “So that’s our main mission, that people are paid fair artists’ wages,” she says. The production recently received a $3000 City of Windsor arts grant. Karns says the production started in 2016, takes place over two nights, and has evolved into different forms with The Broadway Bunch name and format taking hold over the last few years. Shows are at Meteor, a club upstairs across University Ave. from the Capitol Theatre downtown. There are six or seven performers altogether and a five piece band. But from year to year the performers often change. “We keep some people the same and we bring in new people and then we have a special guest,” Karns says. She says this year’s program is still in the planning stage. Public reaction has been overwhelmingly good. “We’ve sold out every show we’ve ever done,” she says. Karns says the group is thinking of expanding into other locations and with other shows, such as one being perhaps “more family friendly.” All three show producers are University of Windsor grads. “It’s a passion project for us,” she says. Other than being in performing arts Karns is executive director for outreach at the Arts Council – Windsor & Region and executive director of the Ford City BIA.

20th Jewish film festival Apr 24 - 27 April 11 2023

The Windsor Jewish Film Festival is back for its 20th season, running April 24 – 27 at Devonshire Mall. Ten films are on tap, ranging with themes about the Holocaust to modern Jewish life. Farewell Mr. Haffmann (photo) is set in Vichy France as Jewish residents are forced to identify themselves. Where Life Begins is a tale of an Orthodox family moving to rural Calabria and the freedom the family daughter experiences in her new surroundings. Hitler’s Aunt is a story about life in German-occupied Poland when a rural citizen risks his family’s life by hiding Jews. Barren is another tale of an Orthodox Jewish woman rebelling against the constraints of her “conservative” social structure by being forced to become a mother. Tango Shalom is a fun play on getting around Orthodox rules in a dance competition, all for the sake of saving the rabbi’s school from bankruptcy. In Image of Victory, set in 1948 Palestine, Hassanin attempts to liberate farmers, his values tested as “both sides re-evaluate what they understand about war.” The Replacement, set in Spain, is a police procedural about a strange murder of a police inspector the main character has replaced. Those Who Remained is a “lyrical story” through the eyes of a young girl about the healing process of surviving Holocaust victims. In Time to Say Goodbye, another comedy, set in contemporary Germany, a 12-year-old is humorously torn between the demands of his recently divorced Jewish parents. And in Four Winters, the “myth” of Jewish passivity during WW II is shattered through interviews with former partisan fighters.

Tims' musical "sickly sweet" says TO critic

AE SH - The Last Timbit

The new Tim Hortons musical didn’t garner a good review in the Toronto Star. “Sickly sweet…Tim Horton’s musical amounts to half-baked publicity stunt” for the doughnut behemoth. The Star called it the corp’s “worst publicity stunt ever” and a “75-minute commercial advertisement masquerading as a musical.” Yet critic Joshua Chong had “high hopes” for, yes, The Last Timbit. Staffed with a “who’s who of Canadian actors” and the “most talented voices” the production comes across as massive PR. “Could that explain why the lyrics are stuffed with items off your menu...?” The musical is based on an incident near Sarnia in 2010 when a massive snowstorm forced motorists along Hwy 402 to seek shelter in a Tims. – 9/7/24

Facebook group formed to save  University Players 

AE SH - Univ Players

A Save the University Players group has sprung up on Facebook. Created June 21 the group wants the University of Windsor to restore the venerable student theatre, in place for decades until the university last week announced it was cutting it due to budget constraints. “The termination of University Players by the University of Windsor is unacceptable to this community,” the FB page says. “This is a planning and strategy group to pull together and try to save the group, through alternative measures and protest.” Comments are piling up. “This will be like the school naming debacle in Kingsville, where the ‘decision makers’ dig in their heels and stand firm on their bad decisions.,” said one. “I think we need a public outcry has the mayor made any comments?” said another. Administrator Kristina Garswood said a few of them went yesterday to “deliver letters” to university president Robert Gordon. “They wouldn’t let us into the building. A woman answered the door of the building a crack, accepted the letters, and said that the president wasn’t taking phone calls or accepting any attempts to make appointments, and that they were ‘forming a team to look at answering emails.’ That was IT.” – 25/6/24

Group formed to fight University Players closure

WIFF screenings of Windsor-made films coming this month

WIFF logo

For the first time the Windsor Intl Film Festival is hosting a group of Windsor-made or connected films this month at the Capitol Theatre. These include Michael McNamara’s 100 Films & A Funeral, Best of the Mark Boscariol 48-Hour Flickfest, Ted Bezair’s The Birder, Michael Stasko’s Iodine, Sasha Jordan Appler’s Kili Klimb, Last Call by Gavin Michael Booth, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, produced by Windsor native Stephen Paniccia, Mike Evans’s Quick and Dirty, Mine Bae’s Reset (see WON post March 30 this page), Marshall Sfalcin’s Rise and Fall of the Grumpy Burger, Chris Pickle’s Saving Grace, Rachel Lambert’s Sometimes I Think About Dying, Kim Nelson’s This is What a Feminist Sounds Like, and WIFF Shorts 1 and 2. The films have been screened over the past two decades at WIFF and in a way have become Windsor classics. They screen June 21-23. – 11/6/24

Festival kicks off its 72nd season tonight

AE SH - La Cage aux Folles

Tonight marks the opening of the Stratford Festival’s 72md season with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Five more productions open the season this week, some by The Bard and some not. Tomorrow sees the opening of the Tony award-winning Something Rotten! That’s followed by Cymbeline, Hedda Gabler, La Cage aux Folles (photo) and Romeo and Juliet. Other productions this season are Wendy and Peter Pan, The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia, Get That Hope, London Assurance, Salesman in China and The Diviners. – 27/5/24

Photo: Stratford Festival

Shaughnessy Cohen prize for book about Fort McMurray fires 

AE SH - Fire Weather book

Canadian-US writer John Vaillant has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His book, Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast, is about the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and its political ramifications. Judges found it a “deeply compelling, skillfully crafted story.” by The award is presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada, recognizing a book of literary nonfiction that has the potential to shape Canadian politics. The Trust says the award is named for “the outspoken and popular MP from Windsor, Ontario” who died in 1998. The award was announced May 7. It has been given out since 2000. - 13/5/24

Get your Mint Julep at Derby distillery party

AE - SH - Mint Julep

Saturday May 4 is Kentucky Derby Day. And the Detroit City Distillery is hosting a special event not just to celebrate the race – with mint juleps of course – but their own special win. The distillery, located in Detroit’s Eastern Market, just won a platinum medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its Homegrown Rye. The distillery makes small batch artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka, and limited-edition spirits, using the local ingredients from local farms. This Saturday Mint Juleps will be going for $10 (US). A gift card will be awarded to the person with the best Derby hat. – 5/1/24

Stratford starts plays with land acknowledgements

AE SH - Stratford Festival logo

The Stratford Festival announces land acknowledgements prior to performances but does not issue “trigger warnings” per se. A land acknowledgement is a formal statement that acknowledges the original Indigenous Peoples of the land the event is taking place on, and is spoken at the beginning of public events. Local municipal councils have them. “Yes, we do land acknowledgements before performances as part of our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation,” publicity director Ann Swerdfager said. Does the festival also use “teigger warnings,” increasingly popular in theatres, to warn audiences about content that might distrurb them? The University of Windsor Players introduced this a couple of years ago and also offers counselling. But, said Stratford’s Swerdfager, “We have always had audience advisories for our productions. I would not call them trigger warnings as they predate that term by decades.” Example: “This production contains some mature subject matter, including sexual innuendo and coarse language. It is suitable for most families with teenagers.” – 15/4/24

New DIA board chair admits to buying 'Art for Dummies'

AE - DIA board chair Lane Coleman 2024

The new head of the DIA, a defense contractor, admitted to buying the book Art for Dummies when he joined the esteemed museum's board a couple of years ago. He is the first Black appointed chairman and a non-Detroiter, originally from Chicago. "And I needed to become like, a pseudo expert," Lane Coleman told The Detroit News. "So, one of the things I did, I bought a book, 'Art for Dummies.' " The businessman, owner of Strike Group LLC, is an avid collector but admits his art knowledge is limited and says he tries to catch up as best he can. "One of the takeaways (when visiting museums) is when you don’t have a lot of time, go right to the gift shop. Look at the postcards. That will tell you what the highlights are, right?" Coleman is a prominent figure on Detroit area boards including the Detroit Water Commission, Henry Ford Hospital Health Network, and the Detroit Regional Chamber. - 25/3/24

Detroit punk scene DVD set now on sale

AE SH - Detroit punk DVD

Dope, Hookers and Pavement, The Real and Imagined History of Detroit Hardcore, is now out on video. This is a limited-edition of 1000 numbered copies. The package includes two Blu-ray and DVD discs, a numbered slipcover, an old school DIY-style hardboard folder, an extra 32 minutes of supplemental videos, and a 20-page full-colour book. Advance orders include a bonus copy of "The Eternal Present" DVD, the filmmaker's weirdo feature debut from 2005 (while supplies last). See – 12/2/24

Folk dancers from around the world

AE SH - Mac folk fest

Here’s your chance to see folk dancing from around the world. The St. Nicholas Macedonian Orthodox Church is hosting a day long event Saturday Feb. 3 with doors opening at 2 pm. Folk dancers in traditional costumes will highlight Macedonian, Serbian, Antiochian, Irish, Ghanaian, Chinese, Slovak, Indian, Scottish, and Ukrainian cultures. Tickets are available at pre-sale prices: $25 (entrance + meal) or $10 (entrance only). Vegan fare will be available. For more information contact

'Glass' and 'Little Women' round out UP's 23-24 season

AE SH - University Players 24 winter

The University Players round out their 65th season with two plays this winter – Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie and Marian de Forest’s Little Women based on the book by Louisa May Alcott. The Glass Menagerie is staged Jan 19-28 and Little Women March 15-24. The first is directed by Lee Wilson, an award-winning director who has worked in Canada and Ireland. The second is directed by Kerry Ann Doherty, a BC based director who has worked in Canada and the UK and first time directing for University Players. Performances are at Essex Hall Theater on the university campus. – 12/1/24

Booking online will cost you at Cineplex

AE SH - Cineplex logo

If you want to buy a movie ticket online – and provide yourself and presumably the theatre more convenience – it will cost you. Using Cineplex's website, Canada's largest theatre chain charges a $1.50 "online booking fee." Cineplex introduced the charge in 2022 "to further invest and evolve our digital infrastructure." But if you're a Scene loyalty card member, the charge is only $1. According to CBC, Cineplex ironically years ago eliminated a similar charge to encourage the audience to buy tickets in advance. – 5/1/24

AWE - capitalism, dystopian futures, colonialism on tap

AE SH - Chris McNamara minauture

Analysis of capitalism, dystopian futures, feminist artistry and Western colonialism are featured in exhibits this fall at Art Windsor-Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor). The seven exhibits bring together local and non-local artists. “From the pixelated decay of the digital realm to reinterpreting icons of Western colonialism each exhibition offers a captivating lens through which to reconsider our place in the world and engage in meaningful dialogue,” AWE says. Artist Sasha Opeiko’s “decaying household objects symbolize the impact of capitalism, challenging perceptions of reality and reminding viewers of the fractures within…” Well known Windsor artist Chris McNamara has created miniature city dioramas (photo) depicting the “complexities of city life.” – 12/12/23

Photo: AWE

Detroit's Music Hall undergoing a massive $122 M expansion

AE SH - Music Hall expansion

Music Hall for the Performing Arts, an almost century old mainstay in downtown Detroit’s theatre district, will be undergoing a massive $122 million expansion which should be complete late in 2026. The design creates a seven-story 100,000 sq. ft. neighboring building with new concert and recital halls, recording and practice halls, leasable office space and a welcome center. There will also be an alleyway between the buildings which will host live performances. The expansion is being designed by New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, which designed the Obama Center in Chicago and David Geffen Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center. Over its history the 1700-seat art deco Music Hall has served as home for the Detroit Symphony and Michigan Opera Co. In recent years it has added the Jazz Café and Rooftop 3Fifty Terrace. – 28/11/23

Last chance for tickets for zany opera revue

The most offbeat opera you’ve probably ever seen is coming to Windsor’s Capitol Theatre this Friday Nov. 17. Ruckus on the Road puts opera through a whole new spin at once zany yet a great way to enjoy a classical art form you probably wouldn’t have otherwise gone to see. “From heart-wrenching tragedies to comedic, satirical parodies, this revue will take you on a journey through the diverse world of opera,” the troupe says. Combining classic arias, duets, and ensemble pieces, in an irreverently fun, and non-traditional way. – 13/11/23

Blight to beauty

AE SH - Detroit 200th City Walls mural

Detroit has now completed its 200th City Walls mural, part of Motown’s Blight to Beauty campaign now in its sixth year. Detroit artist Nicole Macdonald’s Show Love is at 14229 Jefferson Ave in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighbourhood. “The Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood is a unique spot in the city, located on the river with canals and urban gardens,” Macdonald said. “I tried to capture some of this uniqueness while highlighting residents who are working hard to restore and reimagine this corner of the city. – 30/10/23

WIFF to announce its first Canadian film award

AE SH - WIFF Can Film Award

The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) is proving its mettle with each passing year. This year, for the first time, it will be awarding a $25,000 cash prize for the top Canadian film. The festival made the announcement at Toronto’s film festival last month. WIFF will screen 10 Canadian films during the festival Oct. 26 – Nov. 5. The films will be shown on opening weekend and the award, chosen by an “independent jury of industry professionals,” will be announced at a special ecent Sunday Oct. 29. – 13/10/23

Highland Games find permanent Kville home

AE SH - Highland Games

The local Highland Games have found a new home. The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village will begin hosting the games, on a permanent basis, on June 22 next year.  This comes after the once long time – and popular event – "disappeared" from the Town of Kingsville in the 1980s, the Village says. The Games were revived in 2019. Then the pandemic hit, and this year the Jack Miner bird sanctuary hosted them, attended by more than 3000. However, this space proved "too small to house the growth expected." The Games have also been renamed the Kingsville-Essex Highland Games. – 22/9/23

City to get back-to-back film festivals 

AE SH - Media City 2023

The Media City Film Festival, Windsor's internationally renowned experimental film festival moves to mid-autumn this year, almost immediately following, by comparison, the city's more mainstream film festival, the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF). The experimental festival, now in its 26th yea

r, features filmmakers from around the world, many renowned in the genre of inventive and creative cinema. The festival runs Nov. 7 – 11 and more than 50 films and digital works will be screened. WIFF runs Oct. 26 – Nov. 5. Last year Media City was held earlier in the calendar year. Both festivals stake out the Capitol Theatre downtown as their home venues. – 7/9/23

Photo: Media City

Invitation to Detroit street art summit

AE SH - Detroit street art

The National Street Art Summit ins coming to Detroit Sept. 8. The event, sponsored by the cities of Detroit and Philadelphia, and held in conjunction with the BLKOUT Walls mural festival, will be held at Wayne County Community College's downtown campus on West Fort St. Officials from around the US will take part in discussions on the "rising mural movement in America, what cities are doing to encourage mural art, what cities can learn from each other and what ideas can be exchanged to make life easier for the artists." There will be an entrepreneurial workshop for students and emerging artists the day before the summit. And a tour of Detroit street art will take place afterwards. – 24/8/23

Your name on Leamington Centre 

LT SH - Leam Arts Centre

The Leamington Arts Centre is offering naming rights as it reconfigures and expands its footprint. “Naming rights sponsorships are unique opportunities to support the Leamington arts and culture community while also raising the profile of one's own business, organization, or family name," the LAC’s director Chad Riley says. Business, organizations and individuals can have sections of the building named after them. The LAC is a 10,000 square foot facility of four exhibition spaces, a market place artist market, café and wine bar, an art supply store, an education studio and meeting rooms. For more info go to – 11/8/23

Upcoming concerts at the Colosseum 

AE SH - The Colosseum

Tickets are on sale now for: 

Incubus (August 5), RuPaul’s Drag Race (August 6), Theo Von (August 18),
Jann Arden (August 25), Diana Ross (September 8), Bush (September 14), The Australian
Pink Floyd Show (September 28), Eddie Izzard (October 1), and The Vampire Circus
(October 26)

Cineplex opens to moms and babies

AE SH - Stars and Strollers

Cineplex is advertising Stars & Strollers, a new cinema-going experience especially designed for moms and their babies. “Parents - escape to watch new releases in a baby-friendly environment with soft lighting, reduced volume and other amenities,” the company’s website says. Cineplex's Devonshire Mall cinemas also advertises it. “New films are introduced weekly to this program at select Cineplex theatre locations so you can get back to the movie ex

perience you love. Theatres feature reduced noise, soft lighting and even changing tables and bottle warmers. – 13/7/23

Media City fest teams up with art gallery

AE SH - Kevin Emerson filmmaker

Windsor’s experimental film festival, Media City, is teaming up with Art Windsor-Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor) to present films of the US-based filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson. Moonshine: The Celestial Films of Kevin Jerome runs through Oct. 1. Media City has a long history of working with Emerson (photo), showing a retrospective of his films more than a decade ago. Emerson’s films often depict working class and African American migration from the South to northern factories. His films have been shown around the world. – 29/6/23

Photo: Oona Mosma of Media City

Detroit's Four Tops ducked destruction

AE SH - Four Tops

Detroit’s famed Four Tops inadvertently lucked out when they missed a flight from London to the US in the late 1980s. They were booked to be on ill-fated Pan Am Flight 103, which was bombed out of the skies over Lockerbie Scotland by Libyan terrorists. The Tops had to change flights because their recording session ran late. Canadian actress Kim Cattrall also missed that flight because she wanted to go to Harrods to pick up a tea pot for her mom. – 15/6/23 - 15/6/23

Fireworks party returns to gallery


Windsor’s main downtown art gallery resumes its annual fireworks night party, the first since 2019. Art Windsor Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor) will host the event June 26. As per the glow of the 65th edition of the Ford Fireworks guests are encouraged to “to dress in their most extravagant attire, reflecting the theme of color, glitter, and light.” There will be live art and musical entertainment with appetizers from Thyme Kitchen and drinks from Maiden Lane Wine & Spirits Bar. Money raised goes support future exhibitions and education programs. Tickets $100 in advance for members, $125 for non-members; $150 at the door. – 1/6/23

Windsor's Cimolino heads up play panel

AE SH - Antoni Cimolino

U of Windsor graduate and Stratford artistic director Antoni Cimolino will helm a series of conversations based on this year’s Stratford Festival lineup. The theme? Duty vs. Desire. Audiences at the live events will also meet the directors “and learn what goes into envisioning and staging performances.” It’s all part of Stratford’s Meighen Forum, a series of talks throughout the season on various themes. The discussions take place July 3 – 9. Cimolino will host July 7 at the Tom Patterson Theatre. Tickets on sale now. – 18/5/23

Photo: Stratford Festival

Museum's new board members adhere to '50-30 Challenge' 


Art Windsor-Essex (former Art Gallery of Windsor) has announced new board members in keeping with the federal government’s “50-30 Challenge” (50 per cent women or non-binary and 30 per cent of “other equity deserving groups” such as racialized or people with disabilities). They are Anthony Youssef, “a Lebanese Canadian art-based researcher whose work focuses on the intersection of politics and material culture.” Anastasia Adams works as a program coordinator at Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families providing access “to harm reduction supports,” education, and daily emergency housing for over 100 women and families. Zoja Holman is “a visionary leader” plugged into business strategies who can “create innovative, long term strategies to achieve optimal results.” There are 15 board members altogether.

Hundreds of nominees for this weekend's Detroit Music Awards

AE SH - Detroit Music Awards 2023

Detroit sure has a lot of talent. We always knew that but the flow of musical artists just keeps continuing unabated. We counted more than 100 nominees in six categories alone – about one-third of all nominees – for this year’s Detroit Music Awards, happening Sunday. Categories include Rock, Blues, Electronic-Dance, Country, Classical, Gospel/Christian and R & B. The awards recognize Detroit musicians working locally, regionally and nationally. The first awards show was held in 1992. Besides the award ceremony itself the night is full of performances. These have included acts by such iconic names as Kid Rock, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Bob Seger, Glenn Frey, The Miracles, Grand Funk Railroad, George Clinton and Parliament, and Ted Nugent. – 20/4/23