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August 14th, 2017
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News

‘Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy’ should be touring the country: review by Doreen Nicoll

July 20th, 2017
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Review by Doreen Nicoll on rabble.ca

‘Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy’ should be touring the country

Doreen Nicoll, July 30, 2017

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/change-gonna-come/2017/07/langston-hughes-vs-joe-mccarthy-should-be-touring-country

There’s no doubt about it, history is cyclical. Those well versed in history see the proverbial writing on the wall. Unfortunately, those who choose to remain ignorant, or perhaps worse, those who believe they are untouchable, can set the world on a path that is well worn, all too familiar, and often dangerous.

July 29th, the curtain went down for the final time on the Hamilton Fringe production Langston Hughes vs. Joe McCarthy: Is Poetry Subversive? Set at the height of McCarthyism when, as director Ronald Weihs writes in his director’s statement, “There was a massive effort underway in the United State to communicate a crude vision of ‘The American Way,’ and to brand ideas ‘Un-American.’ People were taught to be frightened of their own thoughts, to repress them or keep them hidden.”

During the 1920’s and 30’s, Harlem became a beacon of hope for freedom of expression to African American scholars and artists. This newfound voice was demanding civil liberties and political rights. Hughes was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance which gave birth to jazz poetry. It was this poetry that would make Hughes a person of interest.

On March 24, 1953 James Mercer Langston Hughes, African American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist was called before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. And so the play begins.

Republican Senator Everett Dirksen and attorney Roy Cohn originally interrogated Hughes, but Weihs successfully embodies the men in one domineering character. The interrogator, clearly Hughes’s intellectual inferior, tries unsuccessfully to get Hughes to admit his poems contain subversive political messages. Read more…

News

“A fine play, well staged, with a powerful message” review by Brian Morton, Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy

July 19th, 2017
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REVIEW: ‘LANGSTON HUGHES VS. JOE MCCARTHY’
at the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Festival

https://artsallydotcom.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/review-langston-hughes-vs-joe-mccarthy-at-the-2017-hamilton-fringe-festival/

Ron Weihs’ play, ‘Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy,’ now gets a full production as part of the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Festival. This two man play digs deeply into a very dark period of American History that remains shameful to us today, although with the polarization and division in the United States in the era of Donald Trump, its relevancy is clear.

The script itself is based upon actual testimony given when Harlem poet Langston Hughes was called to testify before Congress during the Communist ‘witch hunts’ of the early 1950s. Read more…

News

“A real gem” Review by Lyla Miklos: Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy

July 19th, 2017
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“…a truly enchanting hour showcasing some of Hughes’ moving, political, and still frighteningly relevant poetry.”

2017 HAMILTON FRINGE FESTIVAL MINI REVIEW FROM CENTRE STAGE WITH LYLA MIKLOS ON 101.5 FM THE HAWK

This Fringe show was a real gem and a pleasant surprise. Writer/Director Ronald Weihs takes us back to 1953 when Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes was summoned by infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy to speak to the Senate Committee on Investigations. Combining projected pictures from the era, jazz music, movement and two amazing actors Weihs transports his audience into both a frightening and inspiring time and place. A time and place that reminds us of the fragility of our democracies as we still so easily allow ideological demagogues to take away our collective powers.

What makes this production really sing is when Learie Mc Nicolls brings to life the words of Langston Hughes. More than once the audience would burst into spontaneous applause at the end of one his powerful recitations. Not only did his voice bounce off the walls, but his feet and body were bouncing and moving all over the stage. Mc Nicolls was utterly captivating to experience and witness in this fully realized performance. The counter point to his poignant energy was the brittle intensity that Howard Jerome brought to his role as the nefarious McCarthy. Read more…

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, News, Theatre

“Acting powerhouse” Review by Lori Littleton, Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy

July 19th, 2017
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“top-notch actors and a unique, artful structure”

Jul 24, 2017, by Lori Littleton,  Hamilton Spectator

Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy
Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St. — July 25-27 at 9 p.m., and July 28-29 at 8:30 p.m.

Writer/ director Ronald Weihs has assembled an acting powerhouse for this 60-minute drama. Dora Award-winner Learie McNicolls is Langston Hughes, renowned poet of the Harlem Renaissance, and Howard Jerome is Joe McCarthy, a U.S. Senator known for his pursuit of anyone affiliated with Communism in the 1950s. The play is based on actual transcripts of Hughes’ testimony before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in March 1953. But this isn’t a courtroom drama and there’s no thundering climax. Instead, the play features McCarthy asking Hughes questions about his poetry. Seated, Hughes answers but then rises to narrate a poem. A skilled dancer, McNicolls artfully adds to his delivery of these poems, which punctuate issues such as workers’ rights, racism, inequality and religion. Weihs also tackles more philosophical topics such as whether a writer’s views be separated from his work. Read more…

Hamilton Fringe Theatre Fest, News, Theatre

Artword closed Dec 12-Jan 26, back Jan 27, 2017

December 5th, 2016
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Artword Artbar is taking a break.
Last day of programming in 2016 is Sunday December 11, for our final matinee of our hit play Scroogissimo.
First day of programming in 2017 is Friday January 27, for a big fundraiser for the Andre Bisson Band who take off on a tour to Memphis. Showtime is 8 pm.

Event, Music, Music-Blues, News

THEATRE: MacBush the Musical returns! In time for the election! Nov 1-13

September 27th, 2016
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November 1 to 13, 2016. BACK for a 2-week run at Artword Artbar, in time for you-know-which election week! Tues-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm. $25.00, or 2-show deal ($18 each)  BUY_tix_buttonBook online
MacBush, the Musical, by David L. Dawson and directed by Ronald Weihs, is a musical mash-up of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the George Bush administration.
macbush_2_cheney_powell_bush_rumsfeld_rice2You need to see this show! Here’s why:
“Tired of Trump, Hillary and the crew dispensing ‘Ain’t America Great’ on TV? Then go get a reality check at Artword Artbar, where Artword Theatre is offering hemlock and humour, stirred not shaken, in a bitter witches’ brew. … Sean Emberley stands out as a prog_macbush_8_saddam_binladen_ahmadinejad21look-alike for the grinning George Bush. Jon-Gordon Odegaard makes an exotic Osama bin Laden. And Will Gillespie and Allan Merovitz have fun with the roles of Rumsfeld and Cheney.  … Well worth seeing.” (Gary Smith, Hamilton Spectator, May 2016).
“This lively play… threads its laughs with an undeniably sinister undercurrent…  Jamila B.’s vocals are a treat…  she not only has good comedic timing but is eerie when she evokes Lady Macbeth.” (Allison Jones, View Magazine, May 2016)
prog_macbush_5_iraqi_woman2_c“Mixing clever, biting political satire…, showing how power corrupts and evil proliferates. … Two highlights of the show are Shavini Fernando’s portrayal of an Iraqi woman’s lament, …and Will Gillespie, as an ordinary soldier. Shand’s portrayal of Powell’s conflicts is memorable.” (Ellen Jaffe, Ont Arts Review, May 2016)
Who? Performed by seven accomplished singer-actors in the Artword Theatre Ensemble: Jamila Bello, Sean Emberley, Shavini Fernando, Will Gillespie, Allan Merovitz, Jon-Gordon Odegaard, Jay Shand.
Music direction and performance by Tim Nijenhuis, with percussion by Steve Foster.
Book and lyrics by David Laing Dawson. Music by Charles W. Humphreys.
Directed by Ronald Weihs. Design by Judith Sandiford.
Produced by Artword Theatre and Gallery on the Bay.
Ticket Prices? Wed to Sun $25 Call 905-543-8512, or book online BUY_tix_button
Tuesday Special all tickets $10 cash at door
When? November 1 to 13, 2016, Tues to Sat at 8 pm, Sun mat. at 2:30 pm
Where? Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne Street, artword@artword.net

What is this show about? G. Dubya and his sidekicks Dickie, Rummy, Condi and Coley sing jaunty show tunes while they plan tactics of ‘shock and awe’. Songs sung by a soldier and an Iraqi woman reveal other viewpoints. With guest appearances by ‘Saddam Hussein’ and ‘Osama Bin Laden’ and ‘Ahmadinejad’ as witches, who have some chilling prophecies about our now current world crisis.

Event, News, Theatre

closed, no event, Fri Sept 30

August 22nd, 2016
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Friday, September 30, 2016. Closed. No event.

Event, News

closed to Sept 8

August 7th, 2016
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Artword Artbar is closed from July 24 to Sept 8, 2016. Contact us by email artword@artword.net.

Event, News

MacBush, the Musical, full text of three wonderful reviews

April 20th, 2016
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Theatre Review of MacBush the Musical by Allison M. Jones, View Magazine, May 5-11, 2016

Hamilton’s Artword Artbar is a small place with a lot of heart. Its theatre ensemble has taken on the ambitious MacBush the Musical, a “mash up of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the George ‘Dubya’ Bush administration during 9/11 and the War on Iraq.”

This lively play shows there’s room for comedy despite the tragedy woven into its historical and Shakespearean material. However, it threads its laughs with pathos and an undeniably sinister undercurrent for those who recall the political landscape of pre- and post- 9/11. …

MacBush review by Gary Smith: Macbeth, Bush mashup has comic intentions with bite, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday May 3, 2016

Need some consciousness raising? Tired of Trump, Hillary and the crew dispensing “Ain’t America Great” on TV? Then go get a reality check at Artword Artbar, where Artword Theatre is offering hemlock and humour, stirred not shaken, in a bitter witches’ brew. That brew borrowed from Shakespeare makes George W. Bush a kind of Macbeth in a modern suit….

MacBush: the Musical – Toil, Trouble, Shock & Awe,
Review by Ellen S. Jaffe for Ontario Arts Review

Shakespeare may be dead, but his plays are alive, well, and adaptable to modern times. Hamilton author, David Laing Dawson, demonstrates this in his powerful MacBush: the Musical, directed by Ron Weihs.  The play transposes the story of MacBeth to Washington D.C. and Iraq. Mixing clever, biting political satire with direct anti-war statements, showing how power corrupts and evil proliferates, especially when done in the name of “good.” ….

Click on READ MORE to read all three reviews in full. Read more…

News

Artword Artbar closed from Dec 13 2015 to Jan 27 2016

December 6th, 2015
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Steel City Jazz Festival, Tjaderama tribute band, Sun Oct 25 at 7pm

September 16th, 2015
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steel-city-jazz-2015_posterWeek One (Oct 21 to 25) of the 2015 Steel City Jazz Festival is at Artword Artbar. Week Two (Oct 29 to Nov 1) is at The Pearl Company. The artist-in-residence for this year’s festival is jazz pianist Adrean Farrugia.   http://steelcityjazzfest.com/
Cal_TjaderSunday October 25, at 7 pm, $15 reg, $10 students. BOOK ONLINE.
Tjaderama: The Music of Cal Tjader, a tribute band with Randy Stirtzinger (as Cal Tjader) playing the vibraphone, John Sherwood on piano, Carlos Rodriguez on drums, Rob McBride on bass and Antonio Perez on congas. John Sherwood has played in the Tjadermania tribute band since 1980.
Cal Tjader (1925 -1982), an American known as the most successful non-Latino Latin musician, played the music of Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America. His main instrument was the vibraphone, but he also played percussion and piano. (photo right) http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/artists/Cal-Tjader/

Event, Music-Jazz, News, Special event

4 great reviews for Learie McNicolls’ Transformation, July 2015

July 18th, 2015
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Peter Malysewich: “…the premier performance of this year’s Fringe.”
The performance was totally awesome. As a Learie fan, I came prepared to enjoy it and was rewarded with even more than I expected. Held my attention from right from the beginning. But I have to give a shout out to Dale Morningstar who at times was so intense he seem to be Learie’s alter ego, with his masterful timing, that movement and sound became one. A terrific venue, a terrific beer, and a fusion of artists for the premier performance of this year’s Fringe. July 23, Peter Malysewich, audience member, posting on FB, https://www.facebook.com/groups/11108185093/

Gary Smith: “..Theatre that pricks the social conscience, stirs the imagination and releases thought. Go get transformed.”

For goodness sake, go see Learie McNicolls’ dance drama “Transformation.” This piece of theatre-cum-performance art is a highly polished, professional work that finds inspiration in McNicolls’ narrative and Ron Weihs’ inspired direction. Add Judith Sandiford’s powerful visuals with their icy tinge of realism and you have a work of art.
McNicolls moves with easy grace offering a seemingly improvised (it’s not of course) banter that gives the work energy and rhythm. Accompaniment by musician Dale Morningstar on drums, keyboard, whistle and cymbals is always perfectly in tune with what’s going on.
“Transformation” reminded me of heady nights in Greenwich Village’s once famous Café Bizarre where, during the 1960s, art was deliriously performed for audiences who savoured every moment. Transformation_learie_McNicolls_8cr
This is theatre that pricks the social conscience, stirs the imagination and releases thought. Go get transformed. Performed at Artword Artbar 15 Colbourne St.
Gary Smith in The Hamilton Spectator, July 16, 2015. Gary Smith has written on theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for more than 35 years. He saw these Fringe shows in previews. Gary Smith reviews Transformation

Dawn Cattapan: “…Mc Nicolls’ strong mastery of dance performance and movement is especially apparent as each transformation takes place with ease and grace… a powerful and meaningful performance…”

Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing is a multi-disciplinary art piece that encompasses dance, spoken word, live music and image projections. … Transformation was first presented earlier this year and incorporates three [many] of Mc Nicolls’ poems in order to bring three distinct characters to life.
Although these characters have other interactions, Learie is able to portray every single character with ease, using his body and voice alone to capture the essence of each; from a small child passing by on a beach to a preacher as he comes to terms with a troubled childhood.
In this sense, the story itself is epic; intense emotions and opinions of family, poverty, war, love, fear, sacrifice and faith are carefully explored as the character gracefully transforms and weaves their way into and out of the changes in their life. Through it all, they continue walking forward, to face each sunrise, and the promise of a new day with unreserved enthusiasm for the promise it may hold.
Mc Nicolls’ strong mastery of dance performance and movement is especially apparent as each transformation takes place with ease and grace that reflect his professional training. No space or moment is wasted throughout the performance, as Artword Artbar is utilized perfectly in its entirety to capture each transformation, both in music, imagery and movement. Mc Nicolls and his live collaborators have carefully and consciously thought out each moment, ensuring that they contribute to a powerful and meaningful performance as the music and images move the story forward as seamlessly as its main character.
Although many may feel that contemporary dance is an art form not for them, Learie Mc Nicolls is an apt tour guide for those looking to learn more about it as he conveys his story. This type of performance is reason enough to be excited about the future of the dance and art community in Hamilton.
Dawn Cattapan is an arts management and communications professional who is currently working with Green Venture. The former Executive Director of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and Education Manager for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, she is particularly interested in the potential of the Hamilton arts community. In her spare time, Dawn is an active yogi, burrito aficionado and can be found on Twitter @dcattapan.  July 17, 2015: http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2880/transformation:_a_journey_of_the_souls_healing

Robin Pittis: “… masterpiece of poetic theatre, … a feat of mature creative artistry…”
Transformation: An avant garde dancer teams up with a musician and visual artist to create this challenging masterpiece of poetic theatre. Learie McNicolls is an accomplished and award-winning modern dancer, and he draws on richly personal material of growing up in Trinidad for his poems. Themes of innocence, violence, and faith swirl between Judith Sandiford’s imagery, Dale Morningstar’s creative sound scape, McNicolls’ lithe and free movement, and his vocal commitment to the text. This is a feat of mature creative artistry connoisseurs won’t want to miss. [R.P.] Robin Pittis, View Magazine, July 23, 2015

News, Theatre

no events from April 1 to 9, 2015

March 1st, 2015
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April 1 to 9, no events at Artword Artbar. Back for Art Crawl, Friday April 10, 2015

Event, News

FOLK/BLUEGRASS: The Allen Family Reunion, Sat Feb 28

January 21st, 2015
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The_Allen_Family_ReunionSaturday February 28, 2015, at 8 pm, $10 (call 905-543-8512 to reserve). The Allen Family Reunion TheAllenFamilycoveris a five-piece bluegrass and folk band from London, Ontario. The original Allen Family Reunion, four members of the Allen family, brought their bluegrass music to many festivals in the early ’80s. Today, the band has reunited three of the original members, siblings John, Joe and Julie plus two of the next generation.
Band members are: John P. Allen on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, voc
als; his daughter Beverly Allen on autoharp and vocals; Joe Allen on banjo and trumpet; Julie Allen on string bass and vocals; and her son Paul Hickling on guitar and vocals.
John P. Allen is a country, rock and bluegrass fiddler, was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame group P
rairie Oyster, winning six Juno awards. John has played with a long list of Canadian music icons over the past 40 years, including rock band Great Speckled Bird in the 1970s, bluegrass bands the Good Brothers, Big Redd Ford, the Dixie Flyers, and Tommy Hunter’s band. In 2005 Allen recorded a CD, “The Canadian Violin”, demonstrating various styles of fiddle playing in Canada

“I’ve heard the Allen Family Reunion both live and on CD and they are a joy to listen to.” Sylvia Tyson

Event, Music, News

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