Pat Blythe – Festivals, Photos and Fun…..

With so many projects on the go and unplanned opportunities popping up rather unexpectedly sometimes simply disappearing for a while, just evaporating into thin air, seems wonderfully appealing and rather peaceful. Inventing a new life is not easy but one plows on, dealing with the twists, turns, distractions and challenges life offers us. The people and music make it all worthwhile. I am truly thankful for the life I’ve had and for the life I’m living now.

I found out a few weeks ago there is a film festival that will be taking place June 20-25….. right on my doorstep. The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year and I confess to being rather shocked I’d never heard of them before. I realize I don’t work in the film industry per se but I did consider myself a bit more up-to-date. (back to the books for me!) It’s not even like they’re new in town….. From their website, “Founder / Artistic and Executive Director Leslie-Ann Coles conceived the Female Eye Film Festival in 2001 having observing that women directors were a minority among filmmakers at the international film festivals she attended with her debut film, “In The Refrigerator.” In 2001, the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) was established and incorporated as a provincial not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Canada. In 2002, the Female Eye presented 42 films in its inaugural year; 70% of the participants were local Toronto directors.”

Photograph – Ringo Starr

When I perused their website I discovered they also curate a stills photography exhibit and one could apply to enter up to five photographs for display. The theme was Air. Now there’s a lot of air blowing around the Toronto club scene, inside and out, but it’s a little difficult to capture “on film” (as they say). So with the help of photographer and extremely creative friend Jessica, we selected five of my photographs. With Sam Taylor rooting in the background (he dropped in for a visit and a beer) we named each photo and submitted them at literally the eleventh hour. Well….a week later FeFF emailed to advise me that TWO of my photos had been selected!!!! I am sooooo excited. This is a first for me. There will be a photo chosen as ‘best in show’ as well as a silent auction if anyone wishes to purchase any of the photographs. Exhibit opening is June 22 @ 6pm at the Beach United Church on Wineva Ave. (just north of Queen St. E.). All are welcome.

Now for some music…..

Attended my first meeting of the Toronto Music Advisory Council on June 5. It ran for over three hours and I’m not sure how much was accomplished. There were a number of people who addressed the council on various issues including affordable housing for musicians and artists who attempt to eke out a living in this business we call music. Lorraine Segato made an impassioned plea to take a look at an area in the revitalized Regent Park. So many are being displaced by condo developments and gentrification that many are fleeing the city and taking their music with them. Shades of Yorkville, Yonge St.,…..and now Kensington Market. Then there’s the noise variances imposed by Toronto City Hall and the NIMBY complaints, forcing clubs to cancel all live music and/or shutting their doors. The idea of a “minimum wage” for performers was also raised since many musicians will play without seeing a dime. Come on folks, collectively…..we can do better than this!

Diamond Club – Photo credit Gokche Erkan All Rights Reserved

Friday night, June 9 was a race from the far nether regions of the west end to downtown Toronto….and I got lost. (don’t ask) I’ll blame it on the unfamiliar vehicle I was driving. Mine was on loan to my younger son so I was driving his girlfriend’s Mercedes. Ya baby. Three shows, two clubs, not quite enough time. First stop was the Rockpile to see Gene Pool. These guys don’t perform often enough so this was a rare appearance I wasn’t going to miss. Fab musicians and friends Karl Anderson (drums), John Jamieson (keys), Joe Vilardi (vox), Chris Brown (bass) and of course, Gene Scarpelli (lead guitar)…..and the Gene in Gene Pool….get it…..a little double entendre there (laughing emoticon).

Lately I’m finding the instruments themselves and the hands and fingers that make them sing to be both fascinating and very special. What translates from the brain to the fingertips amazes and astonishes me. Here are a couple I took of Jamieson and Scarpelli.

The hands of Gene Scarpelli

John Jamieson tickling the ivories (so to speak)

The wait was worth it. Brought together by Scarpelli, these are skilled, accomplished, talented musicians. There is nothing wrong with Vilardi’s pipes. He hits notes I can only dream of. Brown and Anderson form a thundering and highly energized backbone while Jamieson is a master of anything with a keyboard. Sidebar….Jamieson is a composer and owner of Soundhouse Studio so by extension, skills with the keys translates to skills with controls. …and there’s Scarpelli, the consummate rock guitarist (who actually started out as a drummer). If you recognize the last name you will know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Now….where’s that album boys???

It’ll Be Alright – Gene Pool

I had no idea Frank Soda was performing next but I had to be downtown for another show. I spoke with Soda briefly, it’s been years and years since Chris worked with him so we agreed to catch up on Sunday at another locale where he was playing. So, first I had to locate an unfamiliar car in a busy parking lot, in the dark. Then proceed to miss my turn so now I’m driving in completely unknown territory. I finally found my way to Gardiner and headed in the direction of Cherry Cola’s, hell bent for leather (this car moves) but knew I’d be too late to catch singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Murray. Born and raised in Toronto, Murray, who’s primary genre is ska, now resides in Los Angeles where he performs solo or with the Chris Murray Combo. I gather his appearances in Canada are rather sparse so I am very sorry to have missed him. The club was jammed with I got there, indicating Murray is one very popular dude. So, here’s a little taste of Murray, with his combo.

When Your Someday Come – Chris Murray Combo

This was also the night of the video release celebration for Sean MacLean, his project Waves That Stray and his new song, Brick By Brick. MacLean performed with drummer Gabriel Maciel to a very enthusiastic audience and many of the “cast” that participated in the video were in also attendance. I really love both the video and the song. If you missed it last week, here it is again. Betcha you watch it to the end.

Perspective….that’s MacLean on the phone with drummer Gabriel Maciel filling in the background. I just love my little stool behind the bar…..

Sunday was the Celebration of Life for Dave Bailey at the Birchmount Tavern. Bailey passed away at the very young age of 53 in December last year after a lengthy illness. Bob Segarini’s roommate for the past seven years, Bailey was the king of roadies and was very fondly remembered by many. The Carpet Frogs, Frank Soda, and the Segarini/Riddock Band performed for a very enthusiastic audience. Proceeds from any of the donations taken at the door go to the Unison Benevolent Fund, “a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community”.  Please feel free to make a donation in Bailey’s memory. We all need to support each other in times of need.

Bob rockin’ the Shades and Hat

L-R – Craig Riddock, Peter Kashur and Bob Segarini taking a pic


L-R – Frank Soda, Kid Carson and Peter Crolly

….and now it’s Tuesday afternoon and I think I’m actually done early!!! Well hallelujah!!!! I leave you with this.

Tuesday Afternoon – Moody Blues


Click here for my little calendar of events. If there’s anything you’d like me to add let me know and provide a link.



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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