His shows may not generate millions of dollars in tourist money and he has no government grant to lose, but the events that TO promoter and impresario Pete Otis stages with local talents through his SongTown enterprise are always a grass roots gathering point for members of the city’s creative community.
That will be the case again this Friday, March 28 when Otis, teamed up with poet Sheila Horne puts on their first annual SpringFest Words Music and Art multi-disciplinary event upstairs at Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave. at Broadview.
With the weather set to warm up towards the end of the week and a strong likelihood the snow and ice will be melted by Friday, the timing couldn’t have been better for the show, which, like all his other activities, Otis finances entirely from his own savings and earnings generated by concert admissions and sales of four compilation cds of SongTown artists. Admission for Friday’s event is just $5 or pay what you can and hopefully not just the audience but the participating talents also chip in to help the event succeed and become an annual get together.
With 13 musical artists and eight poets performing, as well as four visual artists mounting displays of their work, the 7-till-whenever event should serve as the perfect Spring “coming out” social mixer for weather-weary artists of the various disciplines.
Event emcee Nik Beat fairly neatly embodies the pan-arts nature of the affair –he’s well known as a spoken word artist and the host of FM 89.5’s weekly “Howl” Tuesday night arts show as well as being a songwriter who fronts his own Nik Beat & The Tyranny of Love band.
The featured lineup, in addition to Otis and Horne, includes many songwriters familiar to Moon readers: Brian Gladstone; Boris Buhot; Harpin’ Norm Lucien; Glen Hornblast; James Sloan; Trevor Jones; and Nicole Coward among them. Peter Verity will also take to the stage and will be running an open stage on the ground floor that evening as well, so there’s a chance for lots of creative intermingling to take place.
Spoken word artists also include Joan Sutcliffe; Donna Marrin; Holli Irvine; Joanna Gale; Liz Szynkowski; Susan Siddeley and Judy An.
The visual arts will be represented by presentations mounted by Linda R. Goldman; Sandi Fitzgerald; Mary Mondoux and Kenny Webber.
With the prospect of milder temperatures and interactions between all those various talents on two floors of the Swan together, this could be the beginning of spring fever 2014!