Shifting the Focus With the Guild and Scotiabank

Our focus is shifting! Celebrate 25 years of community development and outreach with AIDS PEI Community Support Group Inc. through our Scotiabank AIDS Walk Event, SHIFT 25: AIDS PEI.

For this year’s national Scotiabank AIDS Walk, Canadian AIDS Society has given its provincial organizations the creative freedom to come up with innovative projects that can transcend the traditional walk event. AIDS PEI has created a long weekend of fundraising initiatives, that will begin on the 22nd of September, 2016 at the Trailside Café in Mount Stewart, with the melodic dream pop of Emilee Sorrey. Doors and kitchen are open at 6:30 with the show beginning at 8pm.

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On the following Saturday the 24th, we invite all Islanders to clean out their closets in support of AIDS PEI, from 12 – 4pm we will be collecting bags of gently used goods from around the community in partnership with Value Village.

The closing event for Scotiabank AIDS Walk, SHIFT 25: AIDS PEI, will take place at 7pm at The Guild on Sunday the 25th. Featuring Rachel Beck, Dennis Ellsworth, and Tim Chaisson. In the lower level art space, a silent auction will be happening, featuring accommodations in our Island’s charming inns, artisanal wears, locally designed jewelry, and more.

Please join AIDS PEI in not only celebrating how far we’ve come in the last 25 years, but to also enthusiastically meet the coming years with tenacity and community support.

Terri Clark From Medicine Hat, Hat and All

Hailing from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Terri Clark got her start playing for tips at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a legendary honky-tonk bar across the alley from Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Terri emerged as a distinctive voice on the country music landscape – driving, passionate, and spirited – every bit her own woman.

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The 8-time CCMA Entertainer of the Year has also been named Female Vocalist of the Year five times. She still holds the honor of being the only Canadian female artist to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She has sold over four million albums and has 13 Top Ten singles, including six Number Ones in Canada and the USA – hits such as “Better Things To Do,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “Girls Lie Too,” “Northern Girl,” and “I Just Wanna Be Mad.”

Terri recently honed her skills on the other side of the radio as part of NASH on America’s Morning Show. In April 2016 she took over as host of Country Gold, a four-hour Classic Country radio show that airs on more than 100 stations across the US. The show is a music-intensive, fan-interactive program with guest artists and country music’s best music from the past.

Terri is a dynamic, no-holds-barred live performer and one of the rare female country artists capable of throwing down some impressive guitar work. In September 2016 Terri will kick off the “Back to My Roots Solo Acoustic Tour.” The 40-city tour will traverse Canada, starting in Prince Edward Island and wrap up in British Columbia in November. Fans will experience Terri’s catalog of hits in a stripped down setting and will hear the stories behind the songs.

Terri Clark is at the Harbourfront Theatre on Wednesday, September 14 at 8 PM and Thursday, September 15 at 8 PM.

A Captivating Union

A Captivating Union of Comedy, Music, and Family

Michel Tremblay’s tale of the hilarious misfortunes of one lady’s fortune is set to make its East Coast debut this month. Belles Soeurs: The Musical, a comedic and touching English musical performed by an all-female cast, opens at Confederation Centre next week, previewing September 13 and 14, before officially launching September 15.

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Presented in partnership with Copa de Oro Productions and the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Belles-Soeurs: The Musical comes to The Charlottetown Festival after two wildly successful runs at the National Arts Centre and in Quebec. Almost 50 years after its first publication, Tremblay’s celebrated story, following 12 wounded but willful women in 1960’s urban Montreal, continues to resonate with translations in over 20 languages and productions all over the world.

“I know I personally connect with these ladies. Even though it seems to be specifically French-Canadian, I see my grandmother and my mother in them, and they were these fascinating, complicated ladies who wanted something so much more than they had,” reflects Brian Hill, of the award-winning creative duo (Neil) Bartram & Hill, who are behind the English book and music adaptation for Belles Soeurs: The Musical.

Directed by René Richard Cyr, the central story zooms in on the life of Germaine Lauzon, a wife and mother, who feels stuck in a life of dull domesticity. Her luck finally changes when she wins 1 million trading stamps from the local grocery store – the ‘Jamie Oliver stamps’ of their day, coveted and tradeable for a treasure trove of goods. Feeling on top of the world, she invites family and friends over for a stamp-licking party to help her redeem her many prizes. The evening quickly becomes clouded by the realities of jealousy, neighbourhood gossip, and scheming between the 12 women. So distracted by what she’s won, Germaine must re-gain sight of all she stands to lose.

“This is a story about family,” reflects the Centre’s Artistic Director Adam Brazier. “About a daughter struggling to break free from her overbearing mother, and sisters learning to accept each other for who they are, and not who the other thinks they should be. Belles Soeurs is a hilarious and profound musical comedy straight from the heart of the Canadian spirit and we are thrilled to present it on Prince Edward Island.”

Belles Soeurs: The Musical plays select dates until October 1. To book tickets, confederationcentre.com or contact the box office, toll-free, at 1 (800) 565.0278. The Charlottetown Festival is presented by CIBC.

The Centre wishes to recognize the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for their continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

Mining the Mundane for Comedy Gold

British-born comedian Chris Gibbs, who opened for the sold out run of Stranger to Hard Work starring Cathy Jones last summer, has returned to Victoria Playhouse with his new one-man show about life, death, family, and fatherhood. Like Father, Like Son? SORRY (which premiered at the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, where it won Patron’s Pick) is billed as a stand-up comedy show but it’s so much more. Gibbs, the creator and star, mines his life for comedy gold. He brings us into his world of memorable characters and noble self-deprecation.

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Chris Gibbs (who has toured extensively as a stand-up comedian and improviser, written and performed 5 hit, award-winning one-man shows, & was a regular guest on NBC’s comedy series Howie Do It) now lives in Toronto with his Canadian wife and son, is sensitive to the fact audiences may be offended by words like “vaginal”, or “fallopian”. He mentions that words can be more palatable when spoken in a cartoon voice; so he says them like Scooby Doo. Gibbs is also apologetic when he says his son is blonde-haired, blue-eyed and tall for his age. But he doesn’t mean to brag; he’s only stating facts.

One of my favourite parts is when Gibbs makes light of the fact his good-looking son has all the dominant traits of his mother. He launches into the interaction that must have taken place between the sperm and egg to result in a complete lack of genetic representation on the part of the Gibbs family.

The most vivid scene Gibbs paints is the birth of his son, Beckett, by way of caesarean section. He uses voices, physicality & plenty of his patented Gibb-erish to introduce the different personalities taking part, one of which is an overly-sensitive anaesthesiologist. His Hugh Grant impression, I might add, was also right on.

Gibbs, who kept the laughs coming in rapid succession in this light-hearted & clean (which this audience, I’m certain, was very appreciative for) two set stand-up routine, was quick to point out his shyness but seemed very at ease on the Victoria Playhouse stage, appearing unwilling to leave it at the end of the night. He thanked his audience members profusely and asked them to tell everyone they know about the show.

And that’s what I plan to do.

Like Father, Like Son? SORRY is playing at the Victoria Playhouse September 9th to 16th.

Review by Kimberly Johnston and PL Holden Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

Robyn Hood and Her Fairly Merrily Men Ride to the Rescue

Holding Out For a Hero? Robyn Hood and her Fairly Merrily Men are riding to the rescue this holiday season! From the comedic minds of Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam comes Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier, at Confederation Centre on select dates, December 9 to 17, 2016.

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Following the tradition of 2014’s Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale and last year’s Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, the Centre brings you a new ridiculous musical celebration at Christmastime. Enjoy stunning music, dancing, and laughter, plentiful local references, and a cast of dozens of Island children and performers.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will direct, with Festival mainstay Craig Fair (Ring of Fire; Canada ROCKS!, Mamma Mia!) as music director and Matthew MacInnis (Mamma Mia!; Evangeline; Alice Through the Looking-Glass) as production stage manager.

P.E.I.’s own Maria Campbell (Jasmine in 2015’s Aladdin; Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart) stars as the female Robyn Hood in the Kingdom of Charlottetown. The Evil Prince John rules the capital city with an iron first, but just beyond the castle walls, in Sherwood-Parkdale Forest, Robyn Hood has hatched a plan to take back the Kingdom and steal from the 1% to give to middle class.

Campbell is an alumna of the Centre’s Young Company who performed at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Charlottetown native also appeared in Leslie Arden’s Harvest Moon Rising (The Guild) as well as in Albert Herring while completing her Master of Music at The University of Auckland.

She’ll be joined by Charlottetown Festival veteran Alanna Bridgewater as Friar Tuck. Known for her towering voice, Bridgewater is a Gemini-nominated vocalist/performer who’s been a member of Johnny Reid’s touring band and appeared in Mirvish’s We Will Rock You, as well as Festival credits in this summer’s Spoon River and as ‘Motormouth’ in Hairspray! Belfast, P.E.I. native, Sarah MacPhee also returns in the role she is still forced to play, The Town Crier. Additional core casting will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Starting at just $25, tickets are on sale now for members of Confederation Centre, with tickets available to the general public as of Thursday, September 8.

Visit confederationcentre.com/theatre or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267.

Making a Landmark

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There are thousands of moving parts to restaurants, from good food in the larder to wage and safety regulations to the spaces in the parking lot. Keeping a restaurant running is an exercise in controlling chaos. That’s why Calvin Trillin, the New York City food writer, has said he never eats in a restaurant over a hundred feet off the ground or one that won’t stand still.

Restaurants can be a Ruth’s Chris with a formal atmosphere or a gastropub in Toronto or a clam chowder shack in southern California. All restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, need stoves and ovens and grills to prepare food. And no matter what kind of a restaurant it is, unless it’s a market stall, a street takeaway, or a food truck, it needs chairs, tables, and booths.

“There was a neighbor of mine up the road in Crapaud, a farmer, who had built tables for a little church fair,” said Eugene Sauve, the owner and chef of the Landmark Café in Victoria, a seacoast town in the Atlantic Canada province of Prince Edward Island. “I asked him if he would consider building tables and a whole bunch of chairs for me. A week later he said, I’ll do it for two thousand.”

A dozen some tables and forty chairs were made. It was 1988. “I didn’t have a formal plan, but it was all visually in my mind,” said Mr. Sauve. “I knew I wanted a big round one. The tables and chairs in the front and back dining rooms are still the originals. The big round one is still in the front.”

The Landmark Café, in the centuries old building that had been Craig’s Grocery Store, opened when long-time Victoria resident Hope Laird drove her three-wheeled bicycle through the grand opening ceremonial ribbon. “When we were kids we used to call Craig’s Store the Landmark,” she said. “Say meet you at the Landmark and all the kids would meet you there.”

“So, that’s what we called it,” said Mr. Sauve.

Restaurateurs open eateries because they are conversant with the business, are self-motivated, and are usually people with people skills. They are foodies who want to match a menu with what they love. Sometimes they are people who just like getting their hands wet and dirty, like to be on their feet all day, and like to work long, long hours.

Opening your own sit-down means pulling up your pants, pilgrim. It takes gumption and hard work the long hours you are on your feet. It takes nerve, too. 50% of all restaurants go south within three years. After a decade more than 70% have closed their doors. Why do friends let friends open restaurants?

“I remember having nightmares opening this place,” said Mr. Sauve. “All my friends were saying, you’re crazy, you’re wasting your money.”

What Eugene Sauve’s friends didn’t know was that Mr. Sauve had worked in restaurants since he was 16-years-old and had an outsize appetite, to boot. A business centering on an all-you-can-eat buffet made all the sense in the world. “Growing up I played a lot of hockey and I was always hungry,” he said.

“But, my father was very formal. He was a banker. He would come home from work, go upstairs, get out of his suit, come down, sit down, and only then was supper served. So, I volunteered to help in the kitchen. I had three sisters, but they weren’t interested. My mom was an amazing cook. One night dinner would be Japanese, another Italian, another French. Every time my mom turned her back in the kitchen I was eating.”

In the early 1970s Euene Sauve’s father, Eugene, Sr., was transferred from Quebec to British Columbia. He was the first French-Canadian to become vice-president of a major bank in western Canada. Eugene’s sisters, as they grew up, went into banking, following their father.

“I was the only one who got away,” said Mr. Sauve.

His father had been football player in high school and later joined the Navy. “After his military service he became a loan officer in a bank. Sometimes loans would only be ten or twenty dollars and he would literally hound guys for fifty cents. It was right after the war and every penny counted. Since he had also once been a boxer, he was an ideal collector.”

After leaving home in the mid 70s Eugene Sauve was on the road and staying in a small coastal town in Portugal. It was where he found out for himself what was good food, the kind of food he describes to this day as something that “snaps and cracks.” It was the kind of food 27 years after opening the Landmark Café he continues to procure and make and serve.

“The fishermen would come in, take a little nap, get dressed up, and walk around the plaza, drinking coffee and booze. Their women would go to work, sardines on the barbeque, dipped in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, with a big crusty roll. Those are my images of good food, simple.”

There’s a difference between good table manners and good food. No one needs a silver spoon to eat the best food.

By the 1980s, although his wanderlust had not, and has not to this day abated, he found himself living, working, and newly married in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. “Julia was from New York, performing in a modern dance company.” He was soon working in the performing arts and the father of the first of two children.

But, his children didn’t grow up in PEI’s capital city. Charlottetown is the province’s largest city. They grew up in Victoria. It is one of the province’s smallest communities.

“Erskine Smith, the director of the theater in Victoria, phoned me in April one day out of the blue,” said Eugene Sauve. “He said, I’d like to have you at the Victoria Playhouse, would you come out to talk?”

The seaside town that is Victoria, once known simply as Lot 29, was founded in 1819. Besides landing fish, its livelihood was shipping potatoes and eggs to Europe and the Indies. There are fewer than 200 year-round residents. Summer is what animates the former seaport of family-run fine and folk-art galleries, artisan chocolate and coffee shops, and the Victoria Playhouse. The Landmark Café is kitty-corner to the theater.

The town in April is quiet wet cold. “I had a half-hour, I walked around, and I instantly felt something here, something about this place. I got the job, and a month in someone at the theater says to me, there’s a house on the corner. I think the guy wants to sell it.” By the end of the summer Eugene Sauve and his nascent family were living in Victoria.

Two years later he approached Annie Craig about renting her grocery store to him for a seasonal café to serve the theater’s playgoers.

“She had the post office, a bit of pension, although she wasn’t making a living at the store. But, she said no,” said Mr. Sauve.

Two months later he approached her again. “This time I asked her if I could buy it. She said no, again.”

Annie Craig spent winters knitting sitting in a rocking chair in the back corner of the store. “Under our carpet you can see where she wore the floor out, rubbing her feet as she rocked,” said Rachel, Eugene’s daughter. “She wore through the tile and into the wood.”

The Craig’s Grocery Store building was almost two hundred years old. It had been gambled away in a card game and had once been sold with the bill of sale hand written out on the back of a pack of cigarettes. Before it was a grocery it had a history of cobbling, butchering, and bootlegging.

Annie Craig called back the next spring. “You know what, I will sell to you,” she said.

“How much?” asked Eugene Sauve.

“Twenty thousand. I’m going to be firm on that,” she said.

“You got a deal,” he said.

“20 grand,” he thought after hanging up the phone. “Where am I going to get 20 grand?”

Entrepreneurs need capital to get going, but banks don’t like lending to start-up ventures. “They have no historical income,” said Tom Swenson, chief executive of a western American bank. “If you are proposing a start-up business, you are de facto proposing something that doesn’t meet typical bank underwriting standards.”

If it’s a food-related business, they like it even less, because restaurants have high rates of default, no matter how much people like eating the food or how well known the chef might be. Pessimism is the default setting of most banks. Many start-ups look to their families for cash.

Eugene Sauve looked to his father, who was family, and a banker, too.

“My father lent me the 20 grand since I was determined to open it for exactly that,” he said. “But, I had to bring him in as a partner. It cost me 50 for 20 the six years he was my partner, which was pretty darn good for him, which is why he was a banker.”

Eugene Sauve stuck close to his budget by buying end-of-the-roll carpeting for $75.00, cadging at no cost paint that had been returned because it was the wrong color, and doing a lot of the heavy lifting himself. “A buddy of mine was an electrician. I worked with him. That‘s how it all fell together.”

His first stove was an old 4-burner Enterprise. The galvanized range hood came from a bakery going bankrupt. He was the chef, sous chef, and dishwasher. The kitchen had no air conditioning. “It used to be so hot in here it was unbelievable.”

The Landmark Café in Victoria opened in the summer of 1989. In the movies they say things like, “If you build it they will come.” In real life not everything is scripted. “The first day was really scary,” said Mr. Sauve. “I wasn’t sure if anybody was going to walk in.”

But, if you build something good somebody is going to pay good money for it.

“The best Caesar salad I have ever experienced. The flavors were amazing. And the seafood pasta was melt in your mouth delicious.”

“I had been searching for a great seafood chowder. After four other places this was the best I’ve had on the island so far, just delicious.”

“I usually go with the flavorful Acadian meat pie, but yesterday I tried the special, a fish burger. It was delicious.”

When you’re serving people delicious food they don’t complain.

Not much beats delicious. Sunshine and fresh air are delicious. Kissing is delicious, tastier than sex. You don’t have to think about rotisserie chicken to know that it’s delicious. Authentic fresh yummy ingredients like island beef, island fish, and island produce are what make the Landmark Café a landmark when Eugene Sauve brings them to the table.

A decade-and-a-half later in the mid-aughts the family, son Oliver and daughter Rachel having joined the labor force, expanded the Landmark Café. “We lifted the whole building, since we had a problem with storage and there was no basement, which we needed,“ said Mr. Sauve.

“We added 40 seats and that changed everything, since we were turning people away. The air conditioning in the kitchen got done, too. I’m the chef here, anyway, and I need to stay cool. That way we serve more food and everybody’s happy.”

For all the changes and renovations, the original chairs and tables built by Crapaud farmer George Nicholson nearly thirty years ago are still what many diners sit on and eat at in the Landmark Café. In the course of time, however, things happen, chairs and tables sometimes taking the brunt of it.

Opening the restaurant one morning after a stormy night Eugene Sauve found a note addressed to him.

Dear Eugene,

Please accept my sincere apology for the disorderly behavior I displayed last evening. Enclosed is a cheque that I hope is sufficient for the purchase of a new table. It’s been awhile since I’ve let myself loose like that and I’m only sorry it was at your expense.

Signed, Pam

Eugene Sauve wrote back.

Pam, the table is going to be fixed with a little glue. There’s no problem. You are always welcome here.

Love, Eugene

Who doesn’t want to stop and eat and drink somewhere where the chairs are sturdy and the table is always set for you?

Originally posted on http://www.147stanleystreet.com.

Meet Chris Gibbs and Son

Limited Engagement
7 SHOWS ONLY!
Sept 9 – 16 at the Victoria Playhouse
BOOK NOW

Like Father, Like Son? Sorry is a stand-up comedy show that playfully explores the fears, worries, and surprises of being a new father and the absolute terror of wanting to be a good one.

Chris Gibbs opened for the sold-out run of Cathy Jones’ Stranger to Hard Work here at the Playhouse last September. Audiences loved his hilarious take on real life and asked us to bring him back

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Like Father, Like Son? Sorry premiered at the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival where it won Patron’s Pick. After playing to sell-out houses at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Chris was invited to perform at the Next Stage Theatre Festival and Uno Festival.

He performed an excerpt from the show at the “True Stories and Other Lies” Gala at the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival where he once again sold out. Since then Like Father, Like Son? Sorry has toured extensively across Canada and continues to do so.