Entertainment Beat

The students at Neil McNeil High School are presenting a special fundraiser for Japan when they stage In A Grove: Four Japanese Tales of the Supernatural, May 19, at 7 p.m. at the school.
Written by Eric Cole, the story takes place in a grove that was once the village of Kogisu. It covers a time period from hundreds of years ago up to the present.
Obosan, a traditional Japanese priest is the only one left from his village to tell its many tales. The Snow Spirit is the tale of the secret villager who Keizuke must keep hidden from his friends – and even his wife, Yukionna. The Oni Dilemma is the tale of a roaming pack of demons whose stomachs never go empty. The Song of the Dead tells of the clash between Kozo, a punk Japanese gangster, and Uta, a peaceful, singing monk. The Bean Grinder is the story of a lethal encounter between Azukitogi, and Hyoroku, a wandering stranger.
Tickets for In A Grove are $5 for adults, and $3 for students and youth. Fifty cents from every ticket, plus any additional profits, will be donated to the Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami Red Cross effort. For more information call Neil McNeil H.S. at 416-393-5502.

Kirsten Jones takes her music to Kingston Road United Church May 27

Singer-songwriter-performer Kirsten Jones has teamed up with the United Church of Canada to present a series of fundraising concerts in United Churches across the country – and the first stop is Kingston Road United Church, 975 Kingston Rd., May 27, from 7 to 9 p.m.
The idea behind this series of concerts began when Kirsten was invited to perform at the Affirm-United conference last year in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.
“The attendees helped me shape this idea and really supported the initiative,” said Jones. “My music isn’t really ‘bar’ material. The best venues are usually theatres, festivals, churches, coffee houses. I attended Kingston Road United with my family and have been personally affected by the warmth and welcoming atmosphere.”
Jones is an award winning singer and songwriter chosen by Billboard Canada as one of the five artists to watch in 2010. Her two CDs, Drive-in Movie, and Mad Mile have garnered her lots of airplay across Canada and the US, as well as being nominated for a Juno. She has been one of the top three finalists in the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest the last three years, and has been invited by Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy to join him in a duet performance at the Songwriter’s Circle two years in a row.
I caught Kirsten at the launch of Mad Mile at Hugh’s Room and can attest to her excellent performance. Her style is easy-going, relaxed, comfortable; and her songs are filled with emotion and musicality. For more information, to hear clips of Kirsten Jones, see video performances, or purchase her CDs visit www.kirstenjones.com
Tickets for Kirsten Jones at Kingston Road U.C. are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. They can be reserved by calling 416-699-6091. For more information visit www.kruc.ca.

Acoustic Harvest presents Jeni and Billy, June 4, at 8 p.m. Jeni and Billy represent the very best in what has been termed New Old Music. Sharing the duties of songwriting, arranging and performing the duo bring a rare honesty to crafting fresh original music in the true style of Appalachian roots music.
Jeni and Billy met in 2005 and began writing and performing together almost immediately. Jeni’s background in gospel and church music, combined with her Masters in English Literature made her a natural songwriter. Billy fell in love with country music and began playing and touring with some of the greats early on. His studio was home to many roots music performers for whom he produced numerous CD projects. He can play just about any instrument he touches.
Jeni and Billy are renowned for their beautiful harmonies, genuine stage presence, excellent musicianship… and simple grace. For more information visit www.jeniandbilly.com.
Tickets for Jeni and Billy are $20 and are available at the door, 1512 Kingston Rd, in St. Nicholas Church. For more information call Acoustic Harvest at 416-264-2235, or visit www.acousticharvest.ca.

The Seventh Annual Waterfront Blues Festival takes place June 3 to 5, in the bandshell of Woodbine Park. This year promises to feature another fine collection of blues men and women to give you a weekend full of great music.
This year’s line-up includes Scott McCord & The Bonafide Truth at 7 p.m. Friday evening, followed by The Gary Kendall Band with Chuck Jackson at 9.
Then the fun begins at noon on Saturday when Harrison ‘Sweet Taste’ Kennedy takes the stage for the first of seven performers  throughout the day. including at 1 p.m. Rick Taylor; followed by Gina Sicilia at 2 p.m.; Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne at 5; Larry McCray at 7. and Curtis Salgado at 9.
Be sure to make your way over to the new Boston Pizza Beaches, at Leslie and Lakeshore, to catch the Waterfront Blues After Party with Erin McCallum beginning at 10:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Sunday kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick, the popular blues duo that has graced Beach stages before. They will be followed at 2:30 by Johnny Rawls. Then Teeny Tucker will wrap up the weekend’s line-up when she performs at 4:30.
Every performer has their own individual website so if you’d like more information, please visit them.
Apart from the great virtually non-stop blues entertainment, there’s lots of other things to do at the Waterfront BluesFest. There will be a children’s amusement area to keep the little ones busy while you enjoy the tunes. There will be plenty to eat, especially delicious barbecue fare.
Don’t forget to enter the Don’t Lose the Blues Contest. The contest is a fundraiser of sorts where participants 19 years and older can pay a ‘twoonie’, receive a Waterfront BluesFest button, along with a ballot to enter the contest. There will be two draws – one Saturday, one Sunday – to win a seven-CD-set of blues music. Then on Sunday the grand prize of a $6,000 aqua blue Danelectro blues-style guitar will be drawn.
The seventh annual Waterfront BluesFest is brought to you by Lido Chilelli and Rico Ferrara who got together in 1997 to host a Bozz Scagg’s event in Toronto. Chilelli of course is best known for the Beaches International Jazz Festival. Ferrara became involved with that, and made the suggestion seven years ago to hold a separate festival devoted to the blues.
You can check out the complete festival line-up, see photos of last year’s festival, and follow some interesting informational links at www.waterfrontblues.ca.

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