Busy times at Inverness County Centre for the Arts

INVERNESS: One of Canada’s most well-known stand-up comics will visit the Inverness County Centre for the Arts (ICCA) on Dec. 10 and 11 for two nights of hilarity.

“We’re incredibly lucky that Jon’s (Jon Dore’s) coming in,” said ICCA Executive Director Ash Young. “He just recorded a new hour of material for Comedy Central, and he’s going to be performing all new stuff. We’re excited to see it before it even airs.”

A quick overview of Dore’s TV and film appearances include Canadian Idol, Just For Laughs, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Inside Amy Schumer, Kroll Show, How I Met Your Mother, Scare Tactics, and Conan. He was the centrepiece of The Jon Dore Television Show which lasted for two season on The Comedy Network, and his most recent venture is CBC’s Humour Resources, in which he stars.

“He was very open to the idea of coming,” said Young. “Having someone of this caliber come is a very good compliment to the centre and the programming we’re trying to create.”

Dore will be appearing with fellow comic Shawn Hogan, a PEI native who runs his own production company. Hogan and Young touched base about having the comedy show come to the ICCA, and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place quite quickly.

“We’re excited to be hosting them in Inverness. It’s going to be great,” Young said.

Hogan produced and starred in dozens of sold out comedy shows across his home province. He created, produced, and hosted the Hangover Cure Comedy Show, one of Toronto’s most successful and unique comedy shows which made its Just For Laughs Festival debut last year. He made his national television debut at the Halifax Comedy Fest CBC’s Laugh Out Loud.

Both shows commence at 8:30 p.m. with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.

With Dore and Hogan holding court on Friday and Saturday night, one might think that’s enough action for a weekend, but ICCA has a major event planned for Sunday (Dec. 12) as well.

Mike Ryan and Kristen Herrington will be the centre of attention from 2 to 4 p.m. for a book launch focusing on their collaboration, You and Me. Both Ryan and Herrington are accomplished creative minds, with Ryan well known for the music he makes with The Town Heroes and Herrington is well regarded for her painting skills.

The book is a reflection of the couple’s travel adventures, and anyone traveling to the book launch will do so without taking a hit to the wallet, as the event is free to attend.

“We’re trying to keep things as diverse as possible,” said Young, who pointed out Dec. 13 will also be a big day at the arts centre as the facility will be offering a screening of Winds of Heaven, with director Michael Ostroff on hand for a Q and A session following the film.

The film details the life of Emily Carr, one of Canada’s most celebrated painters. December 13 marks the 150 year anniversary of the artist’s birthday.

“That’s going to be something to celebrate,” Young said.

The remainder of the month of November isn’t without action as well, as Nov. 20-21 will have the facility serve as host to the 2021 instalment of the Elves Fair. Twenty local vendors will be on hand offering their creations to visitors, with doors opening at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

This year, there’s going to be an added artistic touch.

“Ken Lywood is going to be doing 10-minute portraits,” the executive director said. “Ken’s an artist who lives in Lake Ainsley right now, and it’ll be a special treat for the event this year. We’re really happy to have Ken come in, and we’ll have live music as well. It’ll be a fun event for the community.”

On Nov. 27 (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) an ornament making workshop with Sian Gwynne Turner will take place. The focus of the workshop will be star making: Celtic stars, five-point stars, and a simple folded star (if time allows). All the projects can be made with wild harvested local materials.

Turner has been basket weaving most of her adult life, and for the last 10 years, she’s taught the art in various venues across Cape Breton and Northern Nova Scotia and sells her work at stores and farmer’s markets. Her work can be found on Instagram under the name @siangwynnebaskets.

“Sian’s been here a few times for basket making workshops, and they all sold out,” Young said, adding tickets for the event won’t last long. “She’s a great person to work with; she’s very experienced in what she does.

“Everyone who goes to her workshops enjoys them.”

On Dec. 3, live music will be the main attraction from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. as Hauler (Cape Breton’s contemporary Celtic trio) takes to the stage. The trio is made up of Steve MacDougall and Mike Lelievre, of Slowcoaster fame, and fiddler Colin Grant, Instrumental Artist of the Year at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

“We’re doing the best we can to offer workshops, art exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, comedy and live music,” said Young. “We’re having a lot of fun doing it, and that’s one of the keys for us.”

The facility also has three exhibitions open right now, and they will stay open to the public until Jan. 15. They include Place in Perspective by Hélène Blanchet, Alison Cowitz and Kristi Farrier; FLOCK by Anne Morrell Robinson and A Sense of Place by Regina Marzlin.

Gallery hours for the exhibitions run from Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

“We’re excited to have them,” the executive director said. “All of them are textile artists, and we put them together as a group.”

Tickets to any of the events listed in this story can be purchased by visiting ICCA’s corner of cyberspace at: www.invernessarts.ca.