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About "James Reaney"

James Reaney has covered everything from operas to Neil Young concerts to baseball's World Series in more than 30 years at The London Free Press. Now, he concentrates on London entertainment in his Saturday Today section column and Forest City lore in Thursday 's My London column on Page A2. He is the host of two weekly video. lfpress .com , features, Reaney's Pick, an online platform for London performers, and It's On, a guide to the best of the local scene. James is a passionate supporter of the Jack Richardson Music Awards, which host an annual gala and other free events in London's only not-for-profit recognition of our musical excellence. He is also on the board of the King's University College Centre for Creativity and an active member of the London & Middlesex Historical Society.

Secrets of Radar museum on radar Sept. 27-28

- September 18th, 2014


Maya Hirschman LFP_Ldn20120926MH_radar1

Here’s a place you gotta see on DOL weekend: Maya Hirschman the curator/manager of The Secrets of Radar Museum, located behind Parkwood Hospital on Western Counties Road near Westminster Ponds.
Photographed with a large radar unit inside the museum Wednesday September 26, 2012

One of JBNBlog’s favourite #ldnont weekends is just a weekend away…. yes, it’s time for Doors Open London & London Culture Days all in one big happy jam.

Here are the Doors Open London and London Culture Days details, courtesy of media ace Deanne Kondrat:

London, ON – The London Arts Council and The London Heritage Council invite you to the city’s largest collaborative celebration of culture: Doors Open London and London Culture Days! Over the weekend of September 27 and 28, Londoners and visitors are invited to experience, explore and have fun with over 100 arts and heritage events throughout the city.

Doors Open Ontario is a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust. Now in its 13th year, Doors Open Ontario features hundreds of communities participating in 49 events across the province and is the first of its kind in Canada. Doors Open Ontario invites us to discover first-hand Ontario’s hidden heritage treasures, some of which have never been open to the public. Since the program was launched, over five million visits have been made to heritage sites participating in this initiative. Doors Open London is the 2nd largest celebration of Doors Open in Ontario.

Culture Days is a collaborative, Canada-wide volunteer initiative to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Launched in 2010, Culture Days is the largest public participation initiative and annual event undertaken by the arts and heritage communities in Canadian history. London is the 3rd largest regional city celebration of Culture Days in Canada.

Almost 35,000 visitors took part in free activities and tours presented last year. We are continuing with our new Event Guide layout this year with activity zones across the city so attendees can experience this incredible weekend of culture in London presented by our lead sponsor London Life. Attendees can also visit LondonCulture.ca to create their own personalized list of sites and customize their Doors Open London and London Culture Days weekend!

“With 35,000 participants, and growing, it just shows how excited Londoners are to experience culture and heritage in our city in all of its forms,” says Andrea McNaughton, Executive Director of The London Heritage Council. “Doors Open London and London Culture Days is an extension of how the two councils work day-to-day. We are co-located, we share staff and we also share these national and provincial-wide events.”

“Many of London‘s artists and cultural organizations are housed in heritage buildings and this weekend is an prime example of how the two areas of arts and heritage work well together to create our city’s culture,” says Andrea Halwa, Executive Director of The London Arts Council. “Another key element of Doors Open London and London Culture Days is the involvement of the city’s multi-cultural community. Visitors can experience a taste of Italy, South Asia, Poland, Africa, China, Latin America and more!”

This is the third year in which Doors Open London and London Culture Days have been running as a collaborative event.

Everyone can play a role: whether you are already passionate about culture in London or curious to discover new cultural experiences, the weekend is designed for you and the kids too. With over 100 activities to choose from and over 50 sites throughout the city, there is something for everyone!

Information on all 50 participating sites can be found on londonculture.ca. Or Map and Event Guides can be picked up, free of charge, at: the London Arts Council and London Heritage Council Office, all London Public Library Branches, all London Community Centres and both Tourism London locations.


George Hamilton IV (1937-2014)

- September 18th, 2014

George Hamilton IV AFP_167863417

NASHVILLE, TN – MAY 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Country musician George Hamilton IV and Nancy Jones attend the private visitation for George Jones on May 1, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jones passed away on April 26, 2013 at the age of 81.   Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Nancy Jones/AFP

My thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends of the late George Hamilton IV. The country music star  would have played London many times & was in the emcee role at Tommy Hunter’s farewell appearance in 2012 at the downtown London arena’s RBC Theatre  in 2012.

Here are details from WENN . . . the Joni Mitchell connection reminds JBNBlog the Joe Sample obituary posted here a few days ago mentioned jazz pianist Sample’s work with Mitchell in the 1970s. Were the country star and the jazz icon around her music at the same time? Anybody know?


Country music legend George Hamilton IV has died, aged 77.

The singer passed away at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday (17Sep14) just days after suffering a heart attack.

A statement posted on his official website reads, “Grand Ole Opry Legend George Hamilton IV The International Ambassador of Country Music passed away… at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital (Nashville,TN) with his family by his side. George IV suffered a serious heart attack on Saturday and had been in critical condition from that time. The Hamilton family greatly appreciates everyone’s prayers!”

Hamilton began his music career while studying at the University of North Carolina, scoring a chart success with his song A Rose and A Baby Ruth in 1956. He went on to land a slew of hits and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.

He embraced folk music in the late 1960s, working with stars including Joni Mitchell, and in the early 1970s, he was named the International Ambassador of Country Music after becoming the first country singer to perform in the Soviet Union.

In the 1970s, Hamilton also hosted a number of TV shows in the U.K. and Canada and appeared in a West End musical based on the life of Patsy Cline.

He continued recording and performing into his 70s, and last performed at the Grand Ole Opry on 6 September (14), just days before his death. (LR/AWS/ZN)

(c) 2014 WENN All global rights reserved. No unauthorised copying or re-distributing permitted


JBNBlog’s first LFP contribution c. 1960

- September 18th, 2014


revolt in the west ROOMD52

This cover image (by Jack Ferguson) is of the 1966 Macmillan edition, apparently, but it stirs memories . . . is the version available in 1960 still around the house? Hooray for Canadian freedom fighters etc … image courtesy of lairdbooks.com 

Well, here’s a surprise. It turns out JBNBlog’s first contribution to The Free Press likely dates from the fall of 1960, some 18 years before its generally accepted arrival when a v. kind Norm Ibsen tolerated a few book reviews & soon after there I was reviewing Cheap Trick at the old Gardens in the summer of ’79.

Back to the distant past. A clearing out of family papers has turned up the following wee gem about a book lost in the mists of recollection  . . . was this for a contest for young essayists at the Western Fair?  My apologies to the second-place finisher — what has been discovered is random & rough & unreddy enough to make me wonder if the celeb judges didn’t read things too closely.

The award-winning review likely dates from the fall of 1960 when our family would have just arrived in London from Winnipeg.

A belated salute to whichever Free Press typist/typesetter had to work with the original scrawl so as to produce a true transcription . . . it gives sic new & joyful meaning.

On the other hand, it is inspiring to see that even my seven-year-old self admired Louis Riel & the wordleaps & inventive spelling continue to this day.

Here it is . . . set the wayback machine …

Revolt In The West

By Edward McCourt 

Review by James Reaney, aged 7, of 17 Craig St. (First prize, group 1).

This is a review of Revolt In the West. You should like it because of the Metis in Assiniboine (now Manitoba), you would have seen the peaceful and warring settlements. One move started brewing of war between the Metis and the Canadian government in Otawa. The shooting of Thomas Scott started the clamore in Ontario for vengeance.

Soon if you were Riel after the execution on March 4, 1870, you would have heard a mailiata had reached Winnipeg from the East to restore the law.

I liked the book because of the battles.

Jane Urquhart honorary degree details. Yay.

- September 18th, 2014

Jane Urquhart GG Jim Young Reuters OTW06D

Writer Jane Urquhart (L) hugs Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson as she receives the rank of Officer in the Order of Canada in Ottawa June 10, 2005. The award is to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour and is the country’s highest honor for lifetime achievement. Reuters/Jim Young

JBNBlog bows to great Canadian & ace novelist Jane Urquhart who is among those being honoured at Western this fall . . . she’ll be receiving her honorary degree not far from the one-time fairways where her husband Tony Urquhart, ace artist & former Londoner, may have played a few rounds of golf when the campus was configured a little differently …

Here are the details from Western’s communication aces — also being honoured are Heather Munroe-Blum, Irving Abella and Thomas d’Aquino. Congratulations to all. Classy.

Jane Urquhart
Friday, October 24, 3 p.m.
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (DLitt)
One of Canada’s best loved writers, Jane Urquhart is the author of seven internationally acclaimed novels, including The Stone Carvers, which was a finalist for The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award and longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her national bestseller Away won the Trillium Book Award in 1993. In 1997, her fourth novel, The Underpainter, won the Governor General Award. She has received the Marian Engel Award and the Harbourfront Festival Prize and is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France where her first novel, The Whirlpool, won Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger.
Here is a selection from QMI Agency ally the Pelham News from July 24, 2012 touching on Jane Urquhart’s activism in her area of Ontario . . .

In The Toronto Star on June 12, 2012, you will find an article by Jim Coyle about the deconsecration of Trinity Anglican Church in Colborne. It outlines the attempt by a group called The Friends of Trinity Anglican Church Colborne to protest and fight the closure of the church.

It’s an emotional piece, with words and phrases like “grief-heavy pews”, “heartbreaking”, “bitterness”, and “painful irony”.

In a video interview on YouTube, Jane Urquhart said, “I think it’s very sad. I’m wondering more about the thoughts of the people buried in the graveyard, who were people who founded this church 166 years ago; people like Cuthbert Cumming and various others. I know that the land was donated by local people. I know that probably the labour on this church was donated 166 years ago and it’s been in continuous use ever since, until now. And it just seems like a tragedy to me, and I know that it’s a much bigger tragedy for the members of the congregation who have been attending this church for a very long time. They’ve seen”¦ they’ve buried their loved ones here; they’ve watched their children get married here; they’ve baptized their children here, and now, some of the older members of the congregation have just been cast adrift. I think it’s very sad.”

I am too young to remember when Bill Davis was minister of education in Ontario, and many of the small community schools were closed in favour of larger centralized institutions. I am told that many people in rural Ontario felt like the responsibility to nurture and educate their children was lifted away from them without their approval or even consent. If those small schools were the brain of these rural Ontario communities, then the churches are the heart. Every time a church closes, it’s disheartening.

The time to fight for the health of churches is not when central authorities are forced by circumstances to close them. I could argue that it’s easier for someone in an office far away to make a decision to close a school or a church than it is for someone nearby, who has to bear the stares, grudges, grumbling, and judgement of their neighbours. Without those central authorities that are willing to make hard and necessary decisions, a paralysis can happen. Congregations and fellowships that are no longer viable can combine with buildings that are no longer safe, dragging pathetically on for years and even decades.

Look around you at your local churches. Do they have declining memberships and small congregations? If so, what can you do to rectify that? Perhaps you are the person who is missing. If they are admirable for their architecture, what are you doing to see that they get maintained as a beautiful part of the fabric of your community? Designating these buildings as historic comes with a responsibility to allocate your own money to see that the history you care about is preserved. It’s not fair to expect others to pay for something simply because you yourself care about it. It’s up to you to pay for the things you care about. People like Cuthbert Cumming left us a legacy not only in the buildings and institutions we received at their hands, and not only in their burial grounds, but in the values of constancy, loyalty, and faithfulness that gave them the humility and courage to build places for the worship of God in this country. That’s why these churches were built, in the first place.

The Rev. Andrew Wm. Graham is priest associate at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Cobourg.

Finding Vivian Maier @ Hyland Cinema. In focus.

- September 17th, 2014



A striking poster image & self-portrait w/camera of Vivian Maier courtesy of findingvivianmaier.com

The only good movies to play #ldnont play the Hyland etc. etc … so here are a few quick words on Finding Vivian Maier. Get down there & see it.

Details from a QMI Agency ally follow …  for now, JBNBlog can only say that Vivian Maier’s negatives (thousands of them) found their way to John Maloof by chance & what must be destiny . . . Maloof teamed with Charlie Siskel (nephew of the late Gene Siskel) & the two began to discover (Maloof is a determined detective) & celebrate the greatness of her art . . . & the dark mysteries & shaded & sunlit interludes of her life.

Almost everyone who knew her has a different angle on the great photographer (not that they knew her as a photographer at all).

One amazing discovery in the off-screen details … helping get this marvellous movie to us was Jeff Garlin —  beloved in JBNBlogland as the buffoon-sidekick-loyal manager character (Jeff Greene is the character). Well. Jeff Garlin is a mensch who supported this project & is listed as executive producer. Hooray.

See this movie. See this movie …

Here’s some background from the Pembroke Daily Observer …

Finding Vivian Maier is the critically acclaimed documentary about a mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later. She is now considered among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her. Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 when it was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s northwest side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof. Vivian Maier’s body of work is being archived and catalogued for the enjoyment of others and for future generations. 84 minutes

from the Hyland site …

1hr 23min‎‎ – Documentary‎‎ – English‎
Director: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel -
A mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later, is now considered among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her. An exhibition of Maier’s work is on display in November at New York’s Howard Greenberg Gallery.
from the film’s site …


john_maloof_portraitJOHN MALOOF

John Maloof is a filmmaker and photographer. He is the chief curator of Vivian Maier’s work and editor of the book Vivian Maier: Street PhotographerFinding Vivian Maier (13) is his directorial debut.


charlie_siskel_portraitCHARLIE SISKEL

Charlie Siskel is a television and film producer. His producing credits include the Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine (02), andReligulous (08). Finding Vivian Maier (13) is his directorial debut.