Toronto Blues Society | » December 2022 – Loose Blues News

December 2022 – Loose Blues News

Published November 29, 2022 in Loose Blues News

Musicians Take Note:  The Winterfolk festival will be held February 24-25-26 in Toronto and is now accepting submissions from roots & blues artists. They have a submission form on their website,  Toronto Jazz and other festivals have submission deadlines before the end of the year as well, so check out the websites of any you would like to approach.

Toronto Arts Council News: The Toronto Arts Council (TAC) has announced that Kelly Langgardhas been named as the organizations’ new Director & CEO. Claire Hopkinson, who held the position for 17 years and announced her resignation in March 2022, will continue as CEO until the end of this year. Kelly will assume the role effective January 9, 2023.  With a career in the arts spanning 25 years in Canada and internationally, working at organizations both large and small, Kelly has a great understanding of the arts ecology and the particular social and cultural dynamics of Toronto. Of mixed cultural heritage (Chinese and Norwegian Canadian), Kelly is deeply committed to equity, access and inclusion, and is a visionary leader with a proven track record in partnership building and strategic thinking.

Congratulations to Raoul Bhaneja who just won “Best Actor” for Hamlet (solo) at New York’s 13th United Solo Festival, world’s largest solo theatre festival.  Hamlet (solo) directed by Obie Award winner Robert Ross Parker premiered in 2006 in Toronto, Canada and has been performed over 150 times in 25 different locations from Inuvik above the Arctic Circle, to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and The National Arts Centre in Ottawa. They received rave reviews, including a rare five-star review from The List and a declaration by noted British presenter and comedian Clive Anderson “the best thing I have seen on The Fringe.” The production was winner of the Montreal English Critic’s Circle Award for “Best Visiting Production” and was a nominee for the Calgary Critic’s Award “Best Solo Show”. United Solo marked this first public presentation of the production in eight years and a return to the touring circuit. 

As well as his high profile on the blues scene, Raoul has accumulated over 125 film and television credits and appeared on major regional and world stages including The Stratford Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. He is a Dora-nominated actor for his performance in his multimedia theatre/concert hybrid, Life, Death and The Blues and starred opposite his wife Birgitte Solem in the hit Toronto premiere of Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced which they co produced with Mirvish Productions. Upcoming projects include Littlemouth, a feature film directed by Jonathan Sobol, where he stars opposite Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis and Isabelle Fuhrman. 

Filming the Blues: Last month we alerted blues fans of a film project about the rich and vibrant regional blues scene and a venue called the Juke Joint in Acton.  Since then we’ve been advised about a few more projects with a local connection. Gary Kendall and John Finley are in the process of editing the footage from the Celebration of the Life of Michael Fonfara, some folks in Kitchener are starting up a project on Mel Brown and Glenn Smith’s legendary blues club, Pop The Gator. 

And yes, there will be a film documentary on the life of the beloved “Professor Piano,” Scott Cushnie.  His career goes way back to the early days of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, where he did a couple of shifts in the piano chair and later was the manager of Hawkins’ publishing company. He was also responsible for getting Robbie Robertson into that band. His death and disappearance has the makings of a real mystery adventure and broadcaster Andrea Reid is determined to make a film worthy of his stature as a pioneer in the Canadian Music scene. To find out more and contribute to the Indiegogo fundraising, go to or check out the Facebook page at

And lastly, one of the most anticipated music docs with a Toronto connection is finally released (a long time coming!). REVIVAL 69: The Concert That Rocked the World, showcases never-seen footage and behind-the-scenes stories about a life-altering 1969 one-day music festival at Varsity Stadium where John Lennon performed for the first time without the Beatles, doing an impromptu concert with the Plastic Ono Band, featuring Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Alan White and Klaus Voormann. Lennon agreed (then changed his mind a couple of times) because a bunch of his heroes were also on the bill: Chuck Berry, LIttle Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent as well as Alice Cooper and The Doors. It’s playing at Hot Docs Cinema Dec. 17 (w/Q+A with director Ron Chapman & special guests), Dec. 18-22 / 27-29 and at the Fox Theatre Dec. 20 (Q+A with Director), Dec.19-22, coming soon to a theatre near you. 

And to continue with the visual thread, Steve Hill has released a music video of his tune “Don’t Let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story)” along with a limited edition comic book hot on the heels of new album Dear Illusion. “I got in touch with comic book artist Rob Cannon through a mutual connection. He took the themes from the album, the visual landscape from Desert Trip and made it a metaphoric science fiction story that I could never have thought of, while retaining the essence and the meaning of the songs”. Physical copies of the comic are available from

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The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.