Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Linda Ronstadt’s Iconic Singing Career is Immortalized in a Moving Film Documentary

Watch ‘Linda Ronstadt – The Sound of My Voice’ on Cable TV, this Saturday, January 4th at 9 p.m. (updated)

“Linda was like the queen. She was like what Beyoncé is now.”~ Bonnie Raitt, another legendary singer and musician, and a good friend of Linda Ronstadt

By Doug Draper, an incurable Linda Ronstadt fan

Posted December 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

If you are as much of a fan of legendary pop singer Linda Ronstadt as I am, and you have access to cable television on New Year’s Day, here is something I am sure you would enjoy.

This Saturday January 4st, at 9 p.m. on CNN, the network will be broadcasting on TV screens for one of the first times (the first broadcast was this past January 1st) a full-length film documentary it produced this outgoing year called “Linda Ronstadt – The Sound of My Voice.”

I was fortunate enough to see this documentary on the big screen, at a repertory theatre on Cape Cod, Massachusetts last September, with a full house of film goers who broke out in spontaneous applause as the final credits began to roll. Continue reading

For Those of Us Who Love Buying Our Music in a Real Record Store, Welcome to Hi-Fi Hits

Two former Record Theatre employees keep the Fun and Magic of Record Stores Alive in the Buffalo, New York Area

A Shout Out from One Record Store Lover to All Others

From Doug Draper

Posted December 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Former Record Theatre employees Andrew Mallon (left) and Joe Igielinski, at work in Joe’s new record store, Hi-Fi Hits in Williamsville, New York

Let me get this out of the way, right here at the top.

The following is by no means a paid ad and there is nothing in the way of compensation I am getting for writing and posting this other than whatever little I can do to help real brick and mortar record stores survive a vacuous era of online shopping that takes all of the heart and soul out of buying recorded music.

Those who have been loyal followers of Niagara At Large know that along with news and commentary about the climate emergency and about a whole host of other issues affecting our lives, I like to take time every once in a while to raise a voice of support for people and places I believe add to the richness of life in our communities. Continue reading

A Happy 80th Birthday to one of Canada’s, and the World’s, Greatest Living People – Margaret Atwood

“War is what happens when language fails.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
― Margaret Atwood

A Brief Comment by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted November 18th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

One of Canada’s greatest, Margaret Atwood, turned 80 this November 18th

Whenever I hear someone say Margaret Atwood’s name – and I know this is going to sound so silly given all the rich rewards she has brought to our lives through her writings – one of the first things that comes to mind is the role she played with others eight years ago to stop Doug Ford and his now late brother Rob from cutting funding for Toronto public libraries.

When asked about Atwood’s involvement in fight against library cuts, Doug Ford – then a Toronto city councillor and now premier of Ontario – was quoted telling a reporter; “I don’t even know her.”

Blathering on as if he were proud of himself for saying something that might impress a bunch of old school pals sitting at a bar, Ford punctuated his naked stupidity with the obvious follow-up; “If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.”

Sad to think that it was episodes like this that endeared Doug Ford to enough Ontarians (“I like him cause he sounds like a regular guy,” I’ve heard more than a few of my fellow Ontarians say) to plunk him in the seat of the most important political office in the province.

For those of us who at least know who Margaret Atwood is, the Canadian author who has become known and celebrated around the world for  critically acclaimed, award-winning books like ‘Cat’s Eye’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and her most recent runaway bestseller, ‘The Testament’, turned 80 this November 18th, and a very happy birthday to her.

Margaret Atwood is not only a great writer. She has shown herself to be a great humanitarian for at least as many years as people began reading her work some five decades ago.

For this long-time environment writer, I also became aware earlier on that she has been passionate spokesperson for protesting and preserving the life-sustaining gifts of our mother earth.

On that score, Margaret Atwood has been among a growing number of others who have called out for action on climate change.

Here is just an excerpt of an article she wrote in 2015 on the subject –

Says Margaret Atwood of 16-year-old Swedish climate active Greta Thunberg – “She’s wonderful and she’s impervious to people slagging her off.”

“The laws of science are unrelenting, and they don’t give second chances. In fact, that bill is already coming due.

“There are many … effects (of climate change), from species extinction to the spread of diseases to a decline in overall food production, but the main point is that these effects are not happening in some dim, distant future. They are happening now. And in response to our growing awareness, there have been some changes in public and political attitudes (though not universal).

“Some acknowledge the situation, but shrug and go about their lives taking a “What can I do?” position. Some merely despair. But only those with their heads stuck so firmly into the sand that they’re talking through their nether ends are still denying that reality has changed.”

Happy Birthday Margaret Atwood, and may there be many, many more.

To read the full article that  Margaret Atwood wrote three years ago on the climate emergency we are now facing, click on – https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/margaret-atwood-on-climate-change-time-is-running-out-for-our-fragile-goldilocks-planet-10425406.html

To watch a great interview with Margaret Atwood, broadcast on CBC’s program Q this November 18th, 2019, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/from-backwoods-bacon-to-half-hanged-mary-13-things-we-learned-about-margaret-atwood-1.5361066

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

St. Catharines’ Mayor Presents Key to the City to Chorus Niagara’s Artistic Director Robert Cooper 

“Mr. Cooper’s talent and experience as a conductor could truly take him anywhere in the world and he continues to support local arts and music right here, in our hometown and for that we are grateful.” – St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik 

News from the City of St. Catharines 

Posted November 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

Niagara, Ontario – Earlier this November,  Mayor Walter Sendzik presented the Key to the City to Robert Cooper, artistic director of Chorus Niagara at the launch of his 30th anniversary season with the chorus.

Mayor Walter Sendzik presentes the key to the city to Robert Cooper, artistic director of Chorus Niagara at the launch of his 30th anniversary season with the chorus, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

 “Mr. Cooper has led a remarkable career, teaching, conducting and amplifying voices across Canada. His talent and expertise in the choral arts has been recognized internationally and it is fitting that we recognize his contributions to the local arts community in St. Catharines with the key to the city,” stated Mayor Sendzik.  Continue reading

A Moving, Mind-Blowing Film to See on the Eve of Remembrance Day

See “They Shall Not Grow Old” – November 6th, 9th and 10th, at The Film House in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted November 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Peter Jackson’s war documentary – They Shall Not Grow Old – reflects the human experience during World War I.

 They Shall Not Grow Old brings to life the realities for those that fought in the First World War.  Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) presents the Great War in a breathtaking new light.

Utilizing more than 600 hours of archived videos from the Imperial War Museums, the filmmaker brings to life the unknown truths and uncertainties which the soldiers faced.  

They Shall Not Grow Old screens at The Film House on Wednesday 6 November at 7:00 pm, Saturday 9 November at 6:30 pm and Sunday 10 November at 4:00 pm. Continue reading

Buffalo’s Off Beat Cinema Celebrates 26th Anniversary On-Air & Launch Of A New Book With Party At Rohall’s Corner

50’s inspired themed party – Thursday, October 24th, 6-10 pm. Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst St. Buffalo, NY.

 A special book launch, “Movies 365: A Good Movie for Every Day of the Year”by Greg Sterlace! Enjoy food, music, and more

Posted October 23, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, N.Y. – Buffalo’s longest-running nationally syndicated television show is “Off Beat Cinema,” celebrating 26 years on-the-air Midnight October 26th with the screening of “Night of The Living Dead.”

The program is based out of flagship station WBBZ-TV, and airs on over 90 television stations on the Retro Network. The Saturday night movie show has partnered with author / underground filmmaker, Greg Sterlace, on his latest book release; “Movies 365: A Good Movie for Every Day of the Year.”

This is the perfect combination of the eclectic movie-based show and the eccentric writer of pop culture.

To celebrate, the Off Beat Cinema cast and crew are throwing a party, thatis FREE to the public on Thursday, October 24th from 6-10 p.m at Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst Street. Continue reading

A Brief Tribute to One of Rock Music’s Greatest Drummers – Ginger Baker

August 19th, 1039 to October 6th, 2019

He was a member of the legendary power trio, Cream

By Doug Draper

Posted October 13th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

It is a little belated, but I can’t go let another day go by without posting a wee bit of a tribute to Ginger Baker, who was, without question, one of the greatest rock drummers in the world.

Ginger Baker, in action during the 1960s, with the legendary super group Cream

Ginger (Peter Edward) Baker, who found himself, along with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, swept to worldwide fame in the 1960s as part of the powerhouse trio Cream, died this October 6th in his native at age 80.

Eighty-years old! I know the years have been racing by, but that is still a little a little wild to rap my mind around. 

I can still remember those jaw-dropping moments, as a young kid in high school, turning on a radio and, for the very first time, listening to one of their most commercially successful songs, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, from an album called ‘Disraeli Gears’, which has stood the test of time, more than 50 years later. Continue reading