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When the Strumbellas announced they were cancelling their already postponed tour dates in early 2020 supporting their Rattlesnake album, the “Spirits” hitmakers said in a press statement to fans that it was “a difficult time for all of us, and your continued love and support has given us even more motivation to focus fully on getting back to good health and back out on the road.” It was signed by all six members of the Juno Award-winning folk-rock group, who thanked everyone for “standing by us.” Behind the scenes, though, bassist Darryl James, drummer Jeremy Drury, keyboardist David...
Wilfred Laurier business student and professional photographer Isaiah Haber has used his downtime during the pandemic to create a beautiful keepsake that benefits frontline workers through University Health Network (UHN), a health care and medical research organization in Toronto.  The impressive 21-year-old created and produced a 153-page coffee table book, A Night Out, By Isaiah Haber & Friends, which “celebrates the glamorous nightlife we all miss.” Each photographer created their vision of a “fabulous and sensuous” night on the town.
International Women’s Day was first held in 1911 and is held annually on March 8 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while also acting as a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Though no one government, non-governmental organization, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day, it’s acknowledged and supported globally by all of them and more. While International Women’s Day has grown in the last 110 years and advances in gender parity and equality continue...
The 6th Annual Black Diamond Ball raised money last weekend for The Black Youth Design Initiative [BYDI] but its initiatives carry on year-round.  Donations go toward #Safespace 365 and the Ontario College of Art & Design University’s Black Youth Design Initiative, and presenter Artxperiential has also launched an ongoing marketplace for Black businesses and archived workshops that cover everything from youth leadership and business plans to the music industry.
February 2021 marks the 26th anniversary of Black History Month in Canada, and it presents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people in Canada and elsewhere. People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s. Black History Month’s origins The commemoration of Black History Month dates back to 1926, when Harvard University-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a...
NB. This interview for Samaritanmag first ran in March 2014, and has been republished following his death Jan. 23, 2021 after being admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with coronavirus. He was 87. In the years since the interview was conducted, King had a cancerous tumour removed from his lung in 2017, and an angioplasty and stents inserted in 2019. Later that year, he had a stroke. The Larry King Cardiac Foundation doesn't appear to be operational (we will amend this, if we hear back from our email). The statistics on the “heart disease facts” page still reference...
Andy Kim has put on his eponymous Christmas Special in Toronto for 15 years with dozens of notable guest singers, but tonight (Dec. 19) the "Rock Me Gently/Sugar Sugar" singer/songwriter will see a dream realized: his 16th annual charity concert televised. Pre-taped at the El Mocambo — with some of the artists who were not in town submitting their own segments — the Andy Kim Christmas Special — presented by Live Nation and Air Miles — will debut nationwide on Citytv and stream on Citytv.com and LiveNation.com tonight (Dec. 19) at 8 p.m. EST. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was no live...
I Am Greta director Nathan Grossman could never have known that the pigtailed teenager he chose to film when she sat by the wall of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm that August of 2018,  holding a sign that read Skolstrejk för Klimatet (School Strike for Climate), would turn into an influential star, known simply by her first name, inspiring a global movement of young activists the likes of which had not been seen since the 60s.  “Adults say one thing and do something completely different all the time,” said the then-15-year-old, whose laser-focus has been attributed to her Asperger...
Jeremy Logan, one-time Canadian importer for Vespa scooters and founder of clothing brand reps Next Agency, was excited about the launch of his first menswear line Easy Mondays earlier this year when something big got in the way, as it did for everybody:  covid-19.  Italy, where his classic crew and V-neck tees were being made, was among the first country to go into lockdown. When it reopened a couple of months later, the ambitious Toronto designer was told the factory had pivoted to making face masks, so Logan did the same. His Easy Mondays two-layer pleated and non-pleated masks are...
Bernie Breen “used to manage a little five-piece out of Kingston,” as he playfully puts it. He recently resigned from managing The Tragically Hip, explaining “it was time for a change, not only for me but for the band.” Frontman Gord Downie died in October 2017 of brain cancer. He still manages actor and singer Hugh Dillon (who is currently in Montana shooting season 4 of Yellowstone) and his band the Headstones; Matthew Good (who is working on a new project to be announced “soon”); and producer/musician Colin Cripps of Blue Rodeo, but has accepted the role as chair of Unison Benevolent...
During the 72nd  Primetime Emmy Awards last night,  hosted at the Staples Center in Los Angeles by Jimmy Kimmel with just a few socially distanced guests popping in and out and a giant digital backdrop displaying 130 nominees live at home, or elsewhere, from 10 countries, a good portion of the winners made a point to include their thoughts on a cause, ranging from Black Lives Matter to mental health coverage to the importance of voting.
As a duo, Crown Lands would've been just as impressive wailing away that they need love, or some variation of, but ever since Cody Bowles and Kevin Comeau formed their psychedelic prog-rock band, paying deep respect to Led Zeppelin, Rush and Queen, they have had another agenda: get people to pay attention to what they are actually saying. For one, their name. Crown land means territory belonging to the monarch, or, more accurately, stolen from First Peoples. Singer and drummer Bowles is half Mi'kmaq, an Indigenous tribe from Nova Scotia, so it’s a subject close to his heart. Comeau, who...
Singer, songwriter, musician and visual artist Jon Langford has been supporting worthwhile causes since he was studying painting at the University of Leeds and co-founded a punk band in 1977. “The first Mekons gig was a benefit for striking firemen,” Langford told Samaritanmag over the phone from his home in Chicago, where he hit the streets for a demonstration against racism and police violence. “And then it went on to the miners, anti-death penalty stuff, and an album to raise money for an AIDS charity in the late ‘80s, which I thought was a really good thing to do at the time because...
Milwaukee, Wisc.-based singer, songwriter and musician Dean Schlabowske has been donating a portion of the tip proceeds from his live stream performances to Feeding America to this point, but Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern and five other live music venues will receive all of the money from his June 16 to 21 virtual tour. Schlabowske began his music career in 1988 with indie rock band Wreck. He’s since been an integral part of Dollar Store, Deano and The Purvs, Ice Cold Singles, TV White and, most notably, alternative country/rock-and-roll band The Waco Brothers. Schlabowske also records protest...
When British singer, songwriter and musician Frank Turner isn’t touring tirelessly around the globe, he’s likely recording, writing more songs or another book, or preparing to do one of those things. So it was a major shock to the system when he was in the midst of a United Kingdom tour and had to cancel the remaining dates as the country was locked down on March 23 to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. He wasn’t idle for long, however. “Pretty much straight away it was ‘Let’s do one of the fuckin’ shows that we can’t do from the front room,’” Turner tells Samaritanmag over the phone...
Life in Attawapiskat, the isolated First Nation community on the western edge of James Bay, isn't easy. There was a suicide crisis in 2015-16 (an estimated 100 of Attawapiskat's 2,700 residents attempted to take their own lives during this time). A housing crisis in 2011-12 brought on by flooding and inadequate infrastructure required substantial investments just to meet the community's basic needs. And, last year, high levels of a chemical byproducts in the community's water plant caused a water crisis which necessitated the use of two emergency reverse osmosis filtration systems being...