Acoustic Night At The Sky Dragon

This Friday night 10 performers will be honouring what many consider to be the most influential rock and roll band of the 20th century: The Beatles. If you are a fan come sing along to your favourite Beatles classics. If you’ve never heard of them you really need to get yourself up to date and all the help you need will be at the Sky Dragon. The far reaching tendrils of colourful sound emanating from The Beatles long past creative genius have been missing for no time and nowhere, man.


This Monday BARCADE is back! This monthly event will continue to makethe Brain the best barcade in town. Each event features a different theme about the history of video games, from the early days, through the crash of the 1980s right up to modern high def games. So make sure to join the fun and indulge your inner nerd, whilst placating your outer beer snob and listening to Kid Years spin chip-tune and video game inspired tracks.

This month has no game styled theme but is just based on middle school P.A. days when we would play video games and watch cartoons. So make sure to bring some friends and stop by the brain to have some beers.

END:CIV Hamilton Premiere with director Franklin López

If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests and contaminated the food supply, would you resist? If creatures from outer space made the water so poisonous you wouldn’t dream of drinking it, would you try to stop them? If monsters released toxic chemicals that caused cancer in the people you love, would you fight back?

These aren’t idle questions. It’s happening now – except there are no aliens. The culture that’s cradled us since birth is a killer.

Kick Off June With A Night Of Blues, Food, And Culture

While downtown can boast a majority of music festivals and larger events in Hamilton, this weekend the quaint area of Westdale Village will host the first annual Hamilton Blues and Roots Music Festival. Presented by Sonic Unyon (among other sponsors), the festival will bring together local and travelling blues musicians to Westdale’s main hub for a warm evening of smooth tunes and great times. I for one am extremely excited that a festival so true to the spirit of the cultural transformation of Hamilton is happening down the street from my apartment!

Performances will be happening all day, so either stopping in for a few hours or spending the whole day in Westdale will be worthwhile. The festival will close down normal operation of the retail stores in Westdale for the day, so look forward to street performers, food and craft vendors, a beer garden, and a family movie event in the evening. Expect the event to have a similar vibe to the Supercrawl Festival that happens along James Street North in September— Sonic Unyon is the brains behind both events. Bring a group of friends, your family, or your favourite gal (or guy!)

The Hamilton Blues and Roots Festival is Saturday, June 1st with performances running form 10:00 am-11:00 pm. Look forward to performances by great local talents including Steve Strongman (headlining at 9:00pm), Terra Lightfoot, and Harrison Kennedy.

Westdale Village is in the west end of Hamilton, near McMaster University:

From downtown, King St. East will bring you right to the centre of the village. The HSR also has a few routes that will drop you off near the festival: the 01, 5C, 5E, 10, and 52 will all place you within 5 minutes of Westdale—note, however that those routs running directly through Westdale will probably diverge if the festival requires roadblocks.

If you are coming from up on the mountain you can take the Linc(oln Alexander Parkway) down if driving or catch a bus to the downtown GO centre and transfer.

Surfacing: Contemporary Textile & Craft Objects

The 2011 Textile Program graduates of Sheridan College will be presenting ‘Surfacing’ – an exhibition featuring handmade textiles and designs.

‘Surfacing’ is a forum that encourages a dialogue about the treatment of surfaces in contemporary craft, specifically concerning fibre and textiles. The eleven participants have a varied number of works of art which represent a reflection of their craft experiences through the manipulation and embellishment of coverings, containers, and art installations. These interests lead the artists to shape their ideas and concepts into objects of substance, either functional or decorative or both.

Through layers of colour and texture embellished with print, dye, stitch, and felt, their tactile surfaces embody a sense of discovery and play. ‘Surfacing’ is something that should not be missed, and fits perfectly within an exciting craft rich Art Crawl.

1Awards And Support For Hamilton Entrepreneurs

I was thrilled when asked to attend the secondary annual 1Awards presented by First Ontario Credit Union this past Monday. Now, overlooking how contrived that sentence seems to me, I sincerely had an amazing time talking with young entrepreneurs in the city and chatting with sponsors. This event has unfortunately already passed, but the opportunity to promote an event that so readily embodies the cultural “renaissance” happening in Hamilton right now was too great to pass up.

The 1Awards launched last year with the intention of helping small business owners in Hamilton with $125 000 in cash and professional services from partnering sponsors. First Ontario has come together with other generous sponsors this year to offer winners expert marketing, media, and financial support.  Interested participants were required to fill out an application and give an engaging presentation for judges (as represented by the sponsors).

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the three winners from this year and discuss their backgrounds, future goals, and undeniable love for Hamilton. All seemed to agree that without this city of ours, they would not have been able to pursue their dreams in the same way.

Bakers Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller first met while in school at Niagara College. After losing touch for many years, they swear by a one time coffee date that brought them together in business. Discussing their lives and goals they realized that Cake & Loaf Bakery was a distant dream that they both wanted to pursue. Now some years later, after the great support of city council and the Hamilton community, these girls are on the way to opening another store front. Plans for the future include, of course, opening this second location and offering baking classes for customers. What did they say when asked how Hamilton has shaped their business? No other city would have been the perfect fit like Hamilton: the tight social media presence of the cultural community, support of the often-discussed renaissance, and genuine warmth of the people equal one thing—the perfect recipe for Rudderham and Miller.

Entrepreneur Martinus Geleynse has certainly seen transformation with MGI Media from an initial small video production company. Given involvement in the Hamilton24 festival and founding Urbanicity magazine, Gelenyse has

taken his media expertise to local companies with media and advertising support. Though hoping to move forward with growth and offering more services with MGI Media, he notes that he will always have a “soft spot” for his objet d’art Urbanicity. Of course, Hamilton plays a big role in the path his company has taken: the so-described “Wild West” is full of people rallying behind rebuilding the city and furthermore there is “opportunity for everything” according to Geleynse.

Though different in scope from the other winners, REfficient and their commitment to the environment and corporate responsibility makes them an admirable choice for the 1Awards. Founder Stephanie McLarty has developed a technology-based solution for a common wasteful problem in the corporate world: the improper disposal of outdated technologies. She found that a few years ago there was the need and opportunity for such a service, especially with the rapid improvements in technologies that require constant upgrading and phasing-out. Again, Hamilton was a key part in McLarty’s success not only from cultural perspective but from an economic perspective: “You can be someone here… from a cost perspective it is also great when you are trying to get your feet off the ground”. Moving forward, McLarty hopes to offer new features, expand her geographical reach to service more countries, and increase education about the 3Rs (as learned in school—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!)

And so, dear reader, I strongly encourage you to consider the amazing opportunities available to you in Hamilton. If not taking the big leap of opening your own business, at least get to know and support the entrepreneurs living near you. You will be pleasantly surprised at the growth Hamilton is fostering.

Say Hello To The New Girl In Town!

This weekend, welcome the newest vintage lifestyle store to the downtown core. Girl on the Wing, a new vintage clothing, accessories, and wares store will have a sneak peek opening tonight for the public from 7pm-9pm.

Get the chance to meet owner Whitney Mcmeekin and discuss with her your mutual love of all things vintage. Followin

g tonight’s sneak peek will be the official grand opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon (12pm-6pm) complete with (of course) special deals for you and even a lemonade stand. What’s more, if you are scrambling for a special last minute gift for mom this weekend, Girl on the Wing is hosting a special Mother’s Day shopping event on Sunday.

If you love all things vintage and are embarrassingly nostalgic about decades before your time *cough* like me *cough* this is a great event to check out this weekend. Also, it’s exciting to welcome unique new businesses to the downtown core!

Great Weather, Get Out For Art Crawl

As expected with the 3rd Friday of the month, The James Street North Art Crawl will be in full swing tomorrow night. If you are looking for a fun night out to enjoy the beautiful May weather, look forward to art, music, vendors, and food. James St is known for being a central artistic hub in Hamilton, boasting dozens of galleries and creative industries. Expect to browse the wares of local artists and storefronts that open especially for the occasion. Also enjoy local art installments and exhibitions. Things start to pick up more around the evening, so plan to make this a night out.

Following a stroll down the main strip, head to This Ain’t Hollywood for some great live entertainment. The venue is located conveniently at the top of the main art crawl strip. This Friday, Keys N Krates will be headlining. If you are a fan of electronic or experimental music, you will enjoy t

hese guys as they mix live instrumentation with a collage of samples– a unique experience you will be guaranteed not to forget.

If you’re musical tastes are a little different, Oakville natives Stereokid will be headlining the Spring Music Festival with a performance at The Underground (Just off James at Catherine St. In the same building as Seventy Seven). Other headliners for the festival (happening all this weekend) include IllScarlett, Neverending White Lights, and Poor Young Things.

Need A Game Plan For Sunday At Doors Open Hamilton? Here Is What We’re Doing!

With so many amazing historic and creative sites participating in Doors Open Hamilton this weekend, it can be tough to see everything in such a short amount of time. For those who were unable to get out and explore today, we have a last minute Sunday plan for you that will help you get out and enjoy this great event—whatever your interests may be!

Sticking Downtown

A day filled with both culture and history can be had downtown.

10:00am: 100 King Street West
Start your day with a breathtaking view of Hamilton from 21 storeys. 100 King Street West is home to the Stelco Tower, originally designed as a showpiece for a new steel product of Stelco at the time.

10:45am: Christ’s Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North
Just around the corner from your first destination, this cathedral is right in the middle of the site for monthly James Street North Art Crawls. This church was the first Anglican church in Hamilton and boasts 19th century Gothic Revival style. Enjoy a self-guided tour and humble yourself.

12:00 pm: Dundurn Castle and the Hamilton Military Museum, 610 York Boulevard
If you have not already had the pleasure of touring Hamilton’s most famous historic site, Doors Open Hamilton is the perfect opportunity. Dundurn Castle was the home of one of the first premiers Allan MacNab. Expect to learn about the daily lives of the MacNab family and their servants as well as general life in 1855.

2:00pm: Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) 123 King Street West
Venture back to the downtown core to explore Ontario’s largest independent art gallery. Enjoy a docent-guided tour of the “Eye of Napoleon” exhibition (starts at 2:00pm).  Afterwards, learn about the history of the gallery with a presentation at 3:30pm. Browse the AGH shop for unique souvenirs.

4:00pm: Eat and be merry!
End your day with a bite to eat at any number of the great restaurants downtown.

Strictly James Street North— a full walking day

There are many sites open along James Street North that will make for a nice day of walking as opposed to driving around. Park around King and James (there is a green P parking lot directly across from Jackson Square on James) and spend the day exploring Hamilton’s art district.

10:00am: Grab breakfast
Grab a quick bite at Homegrown Hamilton, located on the Art Walk near the corner of King and James. Enjoy quality local and organic products—the omelettes are to die for!

10:30am: The Lister Building 28-44 James Street North
Right beside Homegrown Hamilton, The Lister building was built in 1924 and serves as an interior shopping complex. Partake in an architect-guided tour at 10:30am to learn m

ore about the building itself or explore this six-storey building on your own.

12:00pm: Architects Inc. 118 James Street North
Check out this unique loft space with a slick and modern design. The space is located within a 19th century commercial building and utilizes popular contemporary details. Spend about a half an hour wandering the space.

12:30pm: John Weir Foote Armoury/Regimental Museums 200 James Street North
In a rare occasion for Doors Open Hamilton, this site will be fully open and staffed for guests to explore the compound. Expect to look around the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Museum (located in the basement) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada Regimental Museum (on the 3rd floor).

2:30pm: Hamilton Port Authority (605 James Street North)
A little bit of a jaunt down James Street North you will find the Hamilton Port Authority with a panoramic view of the harbour from the 6th floor. This historic building will boast art displays, historical artifacts and a special viewing of the restored Hamilton No. 2 boat for your visit.

3:30pm-whenever: Free exploring
Pop into the many media, arts, and culture building  (and especially galleries) that call James Street North home. Note that Christ’s Cathedral Church will be open publicly until 4:00pm if you wish to visit on your way back.

Rich Industrial history in East Hamilton

There are only a few sites open for you East Hamiltonians, but expect a day full of history! PS, you will most likely need a vehicle—getting around by public transit might be a bit tricky/lengthy with this jaunt.

10:00am: 270 Sherman, 270 Sherman Avenue North
Originally a cotton manufacturing company, 270 Sherman is now a creative complex that provides space for artists and firms. The entire third floor hosts gallery space—this weekend, 270 Sherman’s very first Artist in Residence C. Wells will be using the gallery space for his new exhibition Place and Space. Your time here will be a mixture of history and culture: expect a guided tour of the complex while learning about the history of the building and the workers followed by a self-guided experience through Well’s exhibition.

12:30pm: EcoHouse/Glen Manor, 22 Veevers Drive
Experience this reused farmhouse and 2 acre garden of the Veevers Estate. Both guided and self-guided tours are available as well as rain barrels, composters, and worms for sale. This site is both child-friendly and educational.

2:30pm: Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology, 900 Woodward Avenue
Smack-dab in the middle of Hamilton’s steel region, the museum was Hamilton’s first waterworks (delivering water from Lake Ontario to Hamilton homes). Learn about the history of the building and marvel and steam technologies that still function.