Legends of Niagara

Monday April 19, 2010; Brock University, Sean O?Sullivan Theatre: ?That?s about the most musical singing along I?ve ever heard from an audience, Donna Jean.? ?It should be, Arn; they?re all musicians.? While Donna Jean?s statement is not perfectly accurate, there?s a lot of truth in it. It?s the one and only scheduled performance by ?Small Potatoes,? the sixman musical group of 55 to 60 year old, once-upon-atime young rock stars of the Niagara Peninsula put together for this special occasion. They?re all still playing in their own groups, still well-known and, dare we say it, beloved ?

Legends of Niagara

.? All the same, the term ?Young Rock Star? no longer applies the way it does to the stills and film clips being played on the big screen behind the stage, of these guys and their musical compatriots way back there in the ten years of the local music scene they are representing, from the documentary movie ?The Big Story of Small Potatoes: Niagara?s Rock Music History, 1964-74.? Many of those in the fullhouse audience are, indeed, area musicians, past and present. The bulk of the Bouquet to Wonderful Husband It seems every time you clean something - you clean it to death and we end up replacing it. But all in all it has certainly

Arnie Dyker

Arnie audience is made up, though, of fans ? fans of the musicians on stage and of the others interviewed for the film, which had its premiere screening in St. Catharines four months earlier. The six guys on the stage are there to present a musical sweep of what that movie is about ? an exciting time to be a local star in a fast-changing world, a fast changing musical world, and even a fast changing definition of the very words ?rock music.? And maybe a chance to make it big. One of them, the true international rock star about whom the film was originally envisioned, made it huge. Ultimately, the music took all of the rest of them somewhere ? Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Montreal, Thorold. (That?s right, sometimes back, in the end, to Thorold or St. Catharines or Welland ? nobody said it took them all somewhere big.) turned out for the ?good?. I know you work physically hard at work (and at your age that can?t be easy), yet you?ve managed to make our ?cracker box? so beautiful in the interim. Just

The

Thorold Niagara News

Some of those kids (and they were kids ? 15, 16, 17 years old, and out ?on the road? gigging, on the weekends, at minimum) are still making a living at it. (Nobody said ?getting rich? ? hardly any professional musicians do anything more than barely make a living. It?s a tough business.) And most of them the rest of them are still out there, playing in local clubs every weekend, or once a month. When you work that hard as a young person at an art, especially when you get some recognition for it, it becomes a very big part of who you are, and it never goes away. Arnie was heavily involved in the music scene the movie and the concert represent. On the way into the theatre, he can hardly move ten feet without bumping into someone he knew well back then. He?s not the only one. Everybody is bumping into everybody in the same way. It?s old home week here at the O?Sullivan Theatre. The most common comment is the ever familiar, ?You haven?t changed a bit.? Arnie?s reply to a girl who said, ?Ten years since the last time I saw you, Arnie. You haven?t changed a bit,?

Bricks and Bouquets

wanted you to know how very much I appreciate every thing you do. P.S. but now, stick to cleaning dishes only. Bouquet to Lady A beautiful thank you was ?Then I must?ve looked like hell ten years ago.? At intermission, there?s a more honest version of the same comment to be found, referring to the photos of the young rock stars on the big screen, set against the, shall we say, more experienced versions of the same gentleman shown in the present-day video clip interviews: ?It?s hard to imagine those old dudes were so young, once.? The line is delivered with affection. These are hardcore fans. They loved these young men as child stars, and they love them still, only in a more mature way. The concert itself is a big hit ? how could it be anything else? But it is a hit on merit, too. The ?boys? on this stage were among the best musicians in a thriving time in a hot local music scene, and they remain, today, damn good at what they do. They?ve just played and sung an hour-and-a-half concert that represents ten singular years of local livemusic history, and done it proud. It will be interesting, indeed, to see what becomes of the film. Will it remain a local phenomenon, or will it get out to a bigger audience through bouquet to the young lady that phoned 9-1-1 for an ambulance when I fell and broke my wrist and knee at the library on April 14. It was very kind of you to call for assistance and stay Wednesday, May 5, 2010 ? Thorold Niagara News 7

opinion

television, or maybe the North by Northeast music festival later this year, or possibly something like the Toronto Film Festival? Will it lead to a bigger career for its director, Paul Miil? Impossible to know right now. The film is charming and warm and funny (hilarious at times) and a fascinating set of then-and-now studies of time, place and character. But most importantly, as Brendan, one of Arnie?s very best friends, and fellow member of that time and place, so accurately put it, ?It could be Birmingham or Hamburg, or Waycross, Georgia ? it could be anywhere.? Universality. That?s the thing that might just nudge the little movie and its maker onto another plane. The Small Potatoes universe of film-making shares more than a little in common with the Small Potatoes universe of the musicians featured in this first-time film-maker?s documentary: First you have to be really good at what you do. Then, it?s all about promotion, promotion, promotion, and hoping to catch that one big break. It?s the break that you need. Because the talent is already there. until others arrived. Thank you very much. It was appreciated. Bouquet to Neighbour A bouquet to my neighbour for walking my dog while I was away.

How are you going to spend Mother?s Day?

Connie Hamilton ?At home; probably hearing from my son.? Angalee Pizzacalla ?With my son, Kevin..? Sarah Giroux and Aiden ?Probably working.? Victoria Grano ?Going to spend it with my children and grandchildren.?

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