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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.

Guess who is this star rawkin London in 1972

- October 30th, 2014

Sam McLeod Gardens X 20 1972


A classic LFP image from Oct. 17, 1972 . . .  believe ace former colleague Sam McLeod was on the shutter that night

The Bruins’ jersey being sported on the October 1972 night at the old Gardens is apparently a salute to wondrous No. 4 . . . a Bobby Orr replica jersey. But can you guess who is the singer with the pretty classy hair & beard?

The celeb judges are waiting with the usual prizes. Here’s a hint: This rocker played #ldnont in 2014.



Ric Wellwood shares poem on Bernard Hopkins

- October 30th, 2014

Among the many who are missing the late London actor & theatre icon Bernard Hopkins is Richard “Ric” Wellwood, good friend to London arts & JBNBlog . . . Ric has beautiful words to share & it’s an honour to do so here.

My Dear Boy…

Words spoken by a man who went from Liverpool to drama school

And then to Canada to eventually play Bedford’s Fool.

Bernard was of great stature on the stage, but no Romeo,

He was content to play a fun-filled Dromio.

With more than a quarter-century on Stratford stage,

He rose in stature to turn a new page

As a director and teacher from London’s Grand

To Banff’s school of Fine Arts

As a man of many parts.

The best of all was a flood of love and trust

He drew from audiences and friends just

To show that his strengths were not a part

Of his body’s tried and failing heart.

Hopkins has left his mark on the careers

Of Canada’s community of theatre peers

Who are all so sad that they are beyond tears.

His memory will be valued in many coming years.


Ric Wellwood

October 2014


Remembering John Andrew Reaney (1954-1966)

- October 30th, 2014



John Andrew Reaney c


A detail from the beautiful c. 1962 photograph by the late Michel Lambeth when my late brother John Andrew Reaney, left, & my    nine or 10-year-oldish self posed in the sailor suits our mother had chosen for the occasion . . . taken with trssty BlackBerry

John Andrew Reaney headstone (2)


A detail from John Andrew’s gravestone designed by the late Jack Chambers . . . taken with trusty BlackBerry at Mount Pleasant cemetery

Today is a day I join my sister Susan in Vancouver as we remember our brother John Andrew  & our parents  Colleen & Jamie . . . & celebrate their lives & our beloveds (mine in London &v Toronto) . . . & our many friends & extended family.



DC5 in #ldnont memories, IDs sought

- October 29th, 2014

Dave Clark Five on stage


The Dave Clark Five on stage at the old Treasure Island Gardens, c. Nov. 3, 1964, copy of an LFP photograph purchased from the paper by a private collector back in the 1970s.

JBNBlog was too young (ie. 11, but almost 12) at the time to be allowed to go to either of the two epic DC5 concerts in #ldnont c. Nov. 3, 1964. This didn’t keep him from luvin the DC5 past all reason, the & now . . . but the absence of first-hand memories means that it’s time to seek memories of those who were there.

The London bands on the bill were (apparently) Johnny Stevens & The Canadians, The Fortune Tellers & The Undertakers …. any musicians or fans who want to share, pls. get in touch in time for a My London column on the 50th anniversary of this classic moment in #ldnont A&E. Doug Varty remembers a light went on in Dave Clark’s bass drum (0r something like that).

Meanwhile, for a little DC5 contest, pls. ID the fab Five left to right in the LFP photograph here. The celeb judges are ready & the usual prizes are waiting.

Bernard Hopkins: Memorial date, dedication

- October 28th, 2014

lfp24t bernard for stolk

A classic LFP image of Bernard Hopkins c. 1990

JBNBlog is happy to pass along details of Stratford Festival honours announced Tuesday for the late Bernard Hopkins and other actors . . . there  will be a memorial for Hopkins, a longtime Londoner, on Nov. 16.

Here are the festival details:

Festival dedicates plays to three beloved actors


Memorial for Bernard Hopkins set for Nov. 16 at the Festival Theatre

October 28, 2014… The Stratford Festival has lost three beloved former company members over the past number of weeks and will be dedicating productions to their memory next season. The 2015 production of The Alchemist will be dedicated to Edward Atienza. She Stoops to Conquer will be dedicated to Joyce Campion. Love’s Labour’s Lost will be dedicated to Bernard Hopkins.

The Festival has also set the date for a memorial for Mr. Hopkins. It will be held on Sunday, November 16, at 11 a.m., in the Festival Theatre. All are welcome to attend.

“Joyce, Teddy and Bern were among the very finest talents to be part of the history of the Festival company,” said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Each one of them had an irrepressible spirit that brought wit, energy and charisma to any part they played. We dedicate these productions in recognition of their important contribution to Stratford and with a sad fondness for the passing of our fellow players.”

Mr. Atienza, who was a familiar face on the Festival’s stages for 12 seasons in the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s, died on September 17. He had a long and distinguished career, starting in 1949 in his native England, where he worked at the Old Vic and what is now the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He first joined the Festival in 1972, playing Touchstone in William Hutt’s production of As You Like It and the Fool to Mr. Hutt’s Lear. His many other memorable performances at Stratford included Estragon in Waiting for Godot, Feste in Twelfth Night, Thersites in Troilus and Cressida, Kemp in Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Trinculo in The Tempest and the title role in King John. He also created and performed his own one-man show, When That I Was… He appeared in several films, including The Battle of the River Plate (1956) and Peter Ustinov’s Romanoff and Juliet (1961).

Mr. Cimolino has chosen to dedicate his production of The Alchemist to Mr. Atienza because the actor played Subtle in a Yale Repertory Company production of the play that was directed by former Stratford Artistic Director John Hirsch and featured Stephen Ouimette as Face. “Although it has been many years since Teddy retired from the stage, his loss has been heavily felt by all who knew him and admired his splendid work,” said Mr. Cimolino.

Ms Campion, whose Stratford career stretched over 19 seasons between 1968 and 2009, died on September 3. As warmly loved as she was highly admired, she was a dear friend and inspiring role model to countless fellow artists, not just in Stratford but also at the Shaw Festival, where she spent 10 seasons, and other theatres across Canada and the U.S, as well as in the U.K. and her native Ireland.

Having toured with the pioneering Canadian Players in 1963 and ’64, Ms Campion first joined the Festival company in 1968. Her many memorable roles at Stratford include Hannah Bauman in Quiet in the Land, Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady, the Duchess of York in Richard II and Kate Tardwell in Elizabeth Rex (which she reprised in the 2004 film). In 2005, she all but stole the show as Saunders the maid in Fallen Angels. She received a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her role as Charlotte in Bonjour, là, Bonjour with CentreStage in Toronto and a Gemini Award nomination for her performance in Street Legal.

Her last season with the Festival was in 2009, when she played Anfisa in Three Sisters, directed by Martha Henry. This connection led Mr. Cimolino to select Ms Henry’s production of She Stoops to Conquer for the dedication. “This play features exactly the sort of irrepressible women Joyce played and embodied,” he added.

Mr. Hopkins first joined the Festival in 1975, playing Speed in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. Over 24 Stratford seasons, his many other Shakespearean roles included Touchstone in As You Like It, Parolles in All’s Well That Ends Well and Gonzalo in The Tempest. His performances as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet and Robert Cecil in Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex are preserved on film for future generations.

Mr. Hopkins’s last season with the Festival was in 2007, when he played Old Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice and the Fool in Brian Bedford’s King Lear. Productions he directed here include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, which Mr. Cimolino has selected for the dedication. “It is a play that reminds me of the generosity and love that drove Bern’s great work as an acting coach and mentor,” said Mr. Cimolino.

As Head of Drama at the Banff Centre in the 1980s, as Director of the Festival’s Young Company from 1989 to 1992 and, more recently, as a teacher at the Birmingham Conservatory, Mr. Hopkins was a guide and an inspiration to countless fellow artists, in Stratford and across the country.

Mr. Atienza, Ms Campion and Mr. Hopkins will be deeply missed and their contributions well remembered.